Sanatorium Forest Walk
The surrounding pine forrest is also an essential part of the Sanatorium complex. The Paimio Sanatorium Nature trail, operated by Sanatorium Forest Association, (2,6 km) starts from the Chief Physician’s apartment, close to the parking lot of the current Preitilä kindergarten.
The trail takes the visitor to the Sanatorium’s fairytale forest, where a clear-water creek is bubbling amidst mossy rocks. The path passes a small pumping station designed by Alvar Aalto. The pumping station is still in operation and still provides irrigation water for the Sanatorium garden.
Visitors should note that, there is one difficult section on the way, right after the pumping station sign. A campfire place is along the trail. Firewood is not available on behalf of the Sanatorium.
A shorter, one-kilometer (1 km) version of the trail is available too.
About the surroundings
Arriving at Paimio Sanatorium is always an inspiring and surprising moment. As you approach the Sanatorium, there are a few farmhouses scattered here and there along the road. At first, the world-famous building is completely hidden by a stunning pine forest. Then, out of the blue, Paimio Sanatorium appears – sparkling white and majestic.
Because tuberculosis was a highly contagious disease, hospitals were located in rural areas far from dense population. Paimio Sanatorium is located 20 kilometers east of Finland’s oldest city, Turku. It’s positioned on one of the highest points in the area, in a spectacular landscape of a beautiful old pine forest.
Aaltos took the environment into account fully in their design, and it feels as if the Sanatorium buildings are in a constant dialogue with the environment and nature. The pine forest is big part of the design. In their holistic vision, Aaltos were brave pioneers in hospital planning as little attention was paid to the influence of the environment as a means of treatment when Paimio Sanatorium was built.
Aaltos wanted to make the most of the environment. There are balconies on each floor, where frail patients could be brought in their beds to breathe fresh air and enjoy the views. Patients in better condition could enjoy the same things on the large roof terrace.
Aaltos also designed walking routes for the hospital grounds and the surrounding forest landscape – meandering paths that are easy to stroll and even a water element to attract patients to walk and enjoy nature. Today, every visitor can enjoy the same routes, silence and clean air in the touchingly beautiful nature landscape of the Paimio Sanatorium.