Alvar Aalto

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Works Aalto Studio, at Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, Finland, 1956.  * 3D Model *
Aalto Summer House, at Muuratsalo, Finland, 1953.  * 3D Model *
Academic Bookshop, at Helsinki, Finland, 1962 to 1969.  * 3D Model *
Baker Dormitory, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1947 to 1948.  * 3D Model *
Enso-Gutzeit Headquarters, at Helsinki, Finland, 1959 to 1962.  * 3D Model *
Finnish Pavilion, 1937, at Paris, France, 1935 to 1937.  * 3D Model *
Finnish Pavilion, 1939, at New York, New York, 1939.
Flats at Bremen, at Neue Vahr district, Bremen, Germany, 1958 to 1962.
Flats at Hansaviertel, at Hansaviertel, Berlin, Germany, 1955 to 1957.
Flats at Lucerne, at Lucerne, or Luzern, Switzerland, 1965 to 1968.  * 3D Model *
House of Culture, at Helsinki, Finland, 1955 to 1958.
Mount Angel Library, at Mount Angel, Oregon, 1970.  * 3D Model *
National Pensions Building, at Helsinki, Finland, competition 1949, built 1952.
Otaniemi Technical University Library, at Otaniemi, Finland, 1964 to 1969.
Otaniemi Technical University, at Otaniemi, Finland, 1949 competition, completed 1964.  * 3D Model *
Paimio Sanatorium, at Paimio, Finland, 1929 to 1933.  * 3D Model *
Riola Parish Church, at Riola, Italy, 1975 to 1978. * 3D Model *
Saynatsalo Town Hall, at Saynatsalo, Finland, 1949 competition, built 1952.  * 3D Model *
Seinajoki Library, at Seinajoki, Finland, 1963 to 1965.
Seinajoki Town Hall, at Seinajoki, Finland, 1962 to 1965.
Turun Sanomat Building, at Turku, Finland, 1927 to 1929.
Viipuri Library, at Vyborg, USSR, 1927 to 1935.
Villa Carre, at Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, France, 1956 to 1959.  * 3D Model *
Villa Mairea, at Noormaku, Finland, 1937 to 1939.
Worker's Club, at Jyvaskyla, Finland, 1924.
Wolfsburg Cultural Center, at Wolfsburg, Germany, 1958 to 1962.

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Alvar Aalto

(b. Kuortane, Finland 1898; d. Helsinki, Finland 1976)

Alvar Aalto was born in Kuortane, Finland in 1898, the son of a surveyor. He graduated with honors from Helsinki Polytechnic in 1921 after which he opened his own practice. He held the position of Professor of Architecture at MIT 1946 to 1948, and was President of the Academy of Finland 1963-68.

Although his early work borrowed from the neoclassic movement, he eventually adapted the symbolism and functionalism of the Modern Movement to generate his plans and forms. Aalto's mature work embodies a unique functionalist/expressionist and humane style, successfully applied to libraries, civic centers, churches, housing, etc.

A synthesis of rational with intuitive design principles allowed Aalto to create a long series of functional yet non-reductionist buildings. Alvar Aalto generated a style of functionalism which avoided romantic excess and neoclassical monotony. Although Aalto borrowed from the International Style, he utilized texture, color, and structure in creative new ways. He refined the generic examples of modern architecture that existed in most of Europe and recreated them into a new Finnish architecture. Aalto's designs were particularly significant because of their response to site, material and form.

Aalto generated a large body of work in Germany, America, and Sweden. Often at work on multiple projects, he tended to intermingle ideas and details within his work. The spectrum of Aalto's work exhibits a sensual detailing that separates him from most of his contemporaries.

Aalto was a master of form and planning, as well as of details that relate a building successfully to its users. His buildings have provided renewed inspiration in the face of widespread disillusionment with high modernism on one hand, and post-modernism on the other.

Aalto died in Helsinki in May 1976.


Winner of the Sonning Prize, 1962

Resources Sources on Alvar Aalto

David Dunster, ed. Alvar Aalto. London: St. Martin's Press, 1978. — Available at

Karl Fleig (Editor). Alvar Aalto : The Complete Works/Das Gesamtwerk/L'Oeuvre. Artemis-Aidc, August 1992. ISBN 3-7608-8058-4. — The definite complete works of Aalto. Available at

Goran Schildt. Alvar Aalto, the Early Years. New York: Rizzoli, 1984. — This three book series by Goran Schildt is one of the best architect biographies ever, skillfully interweaving the development of Aalto the person with the evolution of his design philosophy.

Goran Schildt. Alvar Aalto, the Decisive Years. New York: Rizzoli, 1986.

Goran Schildt. Alvar Aalto, the Mature Years. New York: Rizzoli, 1991. ISBN 0-8478-1329-0. NA1455.F53A23725. — Available at

Goran Schildt. Alvar Aalto: The Complete Catalogue of Architecture, Design & Art. New York: John Wiley & Sons, November 1996. ISBN 1-8549-0385-3. — A comprehensive guide to the complete works of Aalto by his definitive biographer. Available at   Find books about Alvar Aalto

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