The Sorry State of the Mastodon Part I

The final location of our midsummer tour was perhaps the largest, most beautiful and saddest abandoned building in Finland ever. It was a large tuberculosis sanatorium located in a beautiful cape near a large lake. It was around a hundred metres long, nine storeys high and built in a wonderful 1930’s functionalistic style. It is among the most beautiful buildings ever built in Finland in my opinion.

Well, actually there are two buildings that fit the description. The first one is the Paimio sanatorium. Designed by Alvar Aalto, it’s protected by law, has been nicely renovated and is a tourist attraction. The second one is also protected by the detail plan, but…

…it is neglected and in a very sorry state.

As you can see, it’s impossible to photograph the building in one picture because of its sheer size. And if you’ve been following my blog for long enough, you’ll realize, that it looks familiar. It has been featured in my post ’The Prelude to a Discovery’, which is from a time when I was still beginning my urban exploration journey.

Back when I wrote that post, the building was still functioning as an asylum centre. The refugees were evicted some time later, as a new company, a joint venture between the city and a holiday company planned to renovate this mastodon to house expensive flats for seniors. But the recession came, the plans were abandoned and the building was left to rot.

Despite the protection status, the city is actively trying to get a demolition permit. They have closed down the heating and left the building to rot so that it eventually decays beyond rescue.

I’ve been wanting to explore this building since I saw it for the first time. But it’s actively guarded and locked up, so my friend thought we didn’t have a chance. This is just a small storage room with no way in.

There were warning signs about falling pieces of wall plaster.

And warning signs about asbestos.

We walked all the way to the backside of the building looking for a way in.

This is a look back towards the direction we came from.

Back in the days when there was no real cure against tuberculosis, they tried to heal the people by having them outside for hours breathing fresh air. That’s what the balconies were for.

Nowadays they are in a bad shape as is the whole building.

I find this building even more beautiful than the Paimio sanatorium.

The backside of the building was very overgrown.

On the other side even the walls were in a much worse shape. There had probably been a plant growing on them, and it had fallen off ripping the plaster with it.

The main staircase is behind the large windows. We carefully explored all sides of the building to look for a way in.

And finally I was able to shout ”Isn’t that door ajar?” to my friend.

Welcome inside.

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