AALTO, Alvar Hugo Henrik


AALTO, Alvar Hugo Henrik
(1898-1976)
   Alvar Aalto is credited with establishing modern architecture in his native Finland. After completing his studies at Helsinki Polytechnic in 1921 and an initial foray in the Neo-Classical architecture that was prevalent in Finland at the time, Aalto began to employ natural materials of wood and brick rather than concrete to develop a more modern style that can be characterized as simple and functional yet elegant. It is this style that has come to be described as a quintessentially Scandinavian form of modernism.
   Aalto was inspired by Le Corbusier and the International style, as seen initially in his commission for the Viipuri Library, now called the Municipal Aalto Library of the City of Vyborg, completed in 1935. This beautiful spare, white building with rows of unadorned windows was groundbreaking in design. Inside, round wooden chairs and plain round tables echoed the rows of round windows built into the ceiling to emit a diffused light into the central reading room. After World War II, parts of eastern Finland, including the city of Viipuri, were ceded to Russia. Although the city had been bombed during the war, the library suffered little damage. However, years of neglect followed. The building was exposed to the elements through breaks in the roof and it lost all of its original furnishings. By 1991, a full restoration project was begun, organized by both the Finnish and Russian governments, and this project has become a model in modern architectural restoration.
   The Villa Mairea, built in 1938-1939 in Noormarkku, Finland, is another example of Aalto's soft, more expressive form of modernism; the simple white exterior achieves warmth through the use of beautiful stained wood window and door frames. A year later, Aalto came to the United States to teach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, and in 1947-1949, he built the Baker House on the MIT campus. This six-story brick dormitory facing the Charles River rests on a white stone basement level and features a distinctive undulating exterior façade that results in wedge-shaped interior rooms unique to campus architectural design. This expressive organic shape is echoed in Aalto's designs for furniture and glass arts as well, and in these multiple venues his modernist aesthetic came to be found across Europe and in the United States.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

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  • Alvar Hugo Henrik Aalto — Alvar Aalto Alvar Hugo Henrik Aalto (3 février 1898 à Kuortane, Finlande 11 mai 1976 à Helsinki, Finlande) est un architecte, dessinateur, urbaniste et designer finlandais, adepte du fonctionnalisme et de l architecture organique. Nombre de ses… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Alvar Aalto — Hugo Henrik Alvar Aalto (Kuartone, 3 de febrero de 1898 Helsinki, 11 de mayo de 1976) fue un arquitecto y diseñador de muebles finlandés. Estudió arquitectura en la escuela politécnica de Helsinki. Después de graduarse en 1921 realizó un dilatado …   Enciclopedia Universal

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