Er war der Erstgeborene von vier Geschwistern. In seiner liberalen Familie wurde Finnisch und Schwedisch gesprochen. Neben dem Volksschulbesuch erhielt er Mal- und Klavierunterricht. Dort lernte er u. Im darauffolgenden Sommer absolvierte Aalto ein Praktikum bei dem Architekten Toivo Salervo , der ihm vom Architekturstudium abriet und empfahl, Zeitungsredakteur zu werden. Von bis studierte er Architektur am Polytechnikum in Helsinki.

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His humanistic approach is in full evidence in the library: the interior displays natural materials, warm colours, and undulating lines. Due to problems about financing and a change of site, the Viipuri Library project lasted eight years. Although the Turun Sanomat Building and Paimio Sanatorium are comparatively pure modernist works, they carried the seeds of his questioning of such an orthodox modernist approach and a move to a more daring, synthetic attitude.

It has been pointed out that the planning principle for Paimio Sanatorium — the splayed wings — was indebted to the Zonnestraal Sanatorium —31 by Jan Duiker, which Aalto visited while under construction. It was during this time that he followed closely the work of the main driving force behind the new modernism, Le Corbusier , and visited him in his Paris office several times in the following years.

It was not until the completion of the Paimio Sanatorium and Viipuri Library that Aalto first achieved world attention in architecture. The significance of the exhibition — which later went on a city tour of the country — is in the fact that he was the second-ever architect — after Le Corbusier — to have a solo exhibition at the museum.

In his analysis of Aalto, Giedion gave primacy to qualities that depart from direct functionality, such as mood, atmosphere, intensity of life and even national characteristics, declaring that "Finland is with Aalto wherever he goes". Mid career: experimentation[ edit ] During the s Alvar spent some time experimenting with laminated wood, sculpture and abstract relief, characterized by irregular curved forms.

Utilizing this knowledge he was able to solve technical problems concerning the flexibility of wood and also of working out spatial issues in his designs. It was Maire Gullichsen who acted as the main client, and she worked closely not only with Alvar but also Aino Aalto on the design, inspiring them to be more daring in their work.

The original design was to include a private art gallery : this was not built. Adjacent to the pool is a sauna executed in a rustic style, alluding to both Finnish and Japanese precedents. The design of the house is a synthesis of numerous stylistic influences, from traditional Finnish vernacular to purist modernism, as well as influences from English and Japanese architecture.

While the house is clearly intended for a wealthy family, Aalto nevertheless argued that it was also an experiment that would prove useful in the design of mass housing. In he accepted an invitation as a visiting professor to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.

Post war, he returned to MIT, where he designed the student dormitory Baker House , completed in In the s Aalto immersed himself in sculpting: wood, bronze, marble or mixed media. Among notable works from this period is the memorial to the Battle of Suomussalmi Located on the battlefield, it consists of a leaning bronze pillar on a pedestal. In his town plan Aalto proposed a line of separate marble-clad buildings fronting the bay which would house various cultural institutions, including a concert hall, opera, museum of architecture and headquarters for the Finnish Academy.

The scheme also extended into the Kamppi district with a series of tall office blocks. Aalto first presented his scheme in , but it went through various modifications during the early s. The Miesian formal language of geometric grids employed in the buildings was also used by Aalto for other sites in Helsinki, including the Enso-Gutzeit building , the Academic Bookstore and the SYP Bank building Since the death of Elissa Aalto the office has continued to operate as the Alvar Aalto Academy, giving advice on the restoration of Aalto buildings and organising vast archive material.

Paimio chair Model 60 stacking stools Whereas Aalto was famous for his architecture, his furniture designs were well thought of and are still popular today. Of particular significance was the experimentation in bent plywood chairs, most notably the so-called Paimio chair, which had been designed for the sitting tuberculosis patient, and the Model 60 stacking stool.

The Aaltos, together with visual arts promoter Maire Gullichsen and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl founded the Artek company in , ostensibly to sell Aalto products but also other imported products.


Alvar Aalto



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