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Alvar Aalto’s iconic sanatorium under threat as new buyer sought

Architects fight for preservation

Large white hospital building with many windows and balconies.
Paimio Sanatorium was built in 1933 in southwest Finland.
Photo by Leon Liao via Wikimedia Commons

This summer we reported that Paimio Sanatorium, a former tuberculosis sanatorium designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, was for sale. Now, the preservation of the building has been called into question as the owner extends the bidding period for potential buyers.

Completed in 1933 in Paimio, southwest Finland, the modernist building operated as a treatment center for tuberculosis until the 1960s, when it was converted into a general hospital. Since 2014, it has operated as a rehabilitation center for children and is currently owned by Turku University Hospital. Recent photos prove that the sanatorium is in good condition; the historic building has even been nominated to be become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The owner had hoped to find a buyer by the fall, but after receiving four bids through the end of August, the bidding period has now been extended until the end of November. According to Archinect, current bids have plans to use the building for rehabilitation, architecture, and tourism. But Tommi Lindh, Managing Director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, believes that the bidding period has been extended because none of these offers are viewed as a good match.

In response, a group made up of concerned architects has formed the Pro Paimio Committee to appeal to any future owners to commit to preserving the original architecture, interiors, and furnishings. You can show your support for the preservation of the Paimio Sanatorium by signing the appeal, here.