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Inquiry launched into Paimio Sanatorium’s future

opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriöympäristöministeriö
Publication date 29.3.2019 10.03 | Published in English on 29.3.2019 at 15.16
Press release
The main entrance of the Paimio Sanatorium, Finland.
Paimio Sanatorium, main entrance: Photo Soile Tirilä 2008 / Finnish Heritage Agency - Musketti

The Ministry of Education and Culture together with the Ministry of the Environment have launched an inquiry into the future of Paimio Sanatorium, a historic building designed by architects Alvar and Aino Aalto. The inquiry will be headed by Heikki Alannen, Master of Laws trained on the bench, and Olavi Hiekka, Master of Science (Tech.). Their task will be to draw up a proposal for an economically viable model for covering the site’s maintenance and operating costs.

The proposal should address the organising of Paimio Sanatorium’s ownership and use with a view to ensuring its maintenance and protecting its cultural heritage values. The site should be developed as a unique, internationally recognised building complex representing modern architecture.

With regard to protecting the site’s cultural heritage values, the inquiry should look at the whole complex of buildings and its surroundings, including the interiors and furniture, for the purpose of safeguarding them. In planning the site’s use, the objective will be to continue activities that, as much as possible, are in the spirit of the originally intended purpose.

The agreement to launch an inquiry was reached at a meeting held at the end of January 2019 between the representatives of Varsinais-Suomi Hospital District and Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Annika Saarikko, Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho and Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen. The inquiry will be financed jointly by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of the Environment, and carried out by the Ministries, Varsinais-Suomi Hospital District and the Finnish Heritage Agency. The deadline for the report is 15 June 2019.

Paimio Sanatorium is Alvar and Aino Aalto’s breakthrough work and internationally their best-known building. Paimio Sanatorium has been protected under the Finnish Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage. However, the Act alone will not be enough to protect the building’s unique furniture which, along with the interiors, form an essential part of Paimio’s value, both in terms of its architecture and its cultural heritage.

In 2004, Paimio Sanatorium was included in the tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Having ceased operations in Paimio Sanatorium in 2015, Varsinais-Suomi Hospital District initiated the sale of the site in June 2018.


Päivi Salonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, [email protected], tel. +358 2953 30281
Matti Vatilo, Senior Construction Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, [email protected], tel. +358 2952 50311

Annika Saarikko Kimmo Tiilikainen Kulttuuri Sampo Terho