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Finland proposes Aalto architecture for UNESCO World Heritage tentative list

The 13 buildings designed by the famous architect include Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Hall of Culture and the Aalto House.

Finlandia Hall is one of 13 sites that form an entity to be added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. Image: Kristiina Lehto

Finland is proposing the inclusion of 13 sites representing Alvar Aalto’s humane architecture as a single entity on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage List, according to a government release issued Monday.

The list contains places of "outstanding universal value to humanity" which must be protected for future generations.

The number of sites on the list may change before it is finally submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List, but the tentative list currently consists of 13 sites designed by the renowned architect:

  • Alvar Aalto's Studio Aalto in Helsinki
  • Aalto House in Helsinki
  • Finlandia Hall in Helsinki
  • the main building of the Social Insurance Institution and Helsinki Hall of Culture (Kulttuuritalo)
  • Jyväskylä University Campus
  • Muuratsalo Experimental House and Säynätsalo Town Hall in Jyväskylä
  • Paimio Hospital (formerly Paimio Sanatorium) in Paimio
  • Seinäjoki Administrative and Cultural Centre
  • Sunila Sulphate Pulp Mill and Residential Area in Kotka
  • Villa Mairea in Pori
  • Church of the Three Crosses (Vuoksenniska Church) in Imatra

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Sunila Sulphate Pulp Mill and Residential Area in Kotka. Image: Miina Sillanpää / Yle

A date for the submission will be decided separately.

Sites to be removed from list

At the same time as the proposal of Aalto’s architecture, Finland will remove a number of cultural heritage sites from the list as they no longer fully meet the criteria for inclusion.

These include rock carvings at the island of Gaddtarmen (Hauensuoli), a Stone Age ruin at Pattijoki, rock paintings at Ristiina, and Paimio Hospital (formerly Paimio Sanatorium), which will be removed from the list as a separate listing but is one of the 13 sites on the Aalto list.

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Paimio Hospital in Southeast Finland. Image: Paula Koskinen / Yle

Ukonsaari, a holy place of worship for the Saami people in Inari, will remain on the list.

The UNESCO World Heritage List currently contains more than 1,100 sites from around the globe.

Finland's list includes the Verla Museum in Kouvola, Old Rauma, the Fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki, the Old Church of Petäjävesi, the Bronze Age burial site in Rauma, the Struve Geodetic Arc and the Kvarken archipelago.

More information on each of the sites can be found on the website (siirryt toiseen palveluun) of the Finnish Heritage Agency.

In Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture decides on the cultural heritage sites to be included in the list of sites on the basis of a proposal from the Finnish Heritage Agency, while the Ministry of the Environment decides on the sites of natural heritage sites.

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