Villa Mairea
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Architect Alvar Aalto
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Location Noormarkku, Finland
Date 1937 to 1939   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System Plastered brick walls, wood siding, etc
Climate cold
Context rural forest
Style Modern
Notes Expressionistic variations within a modern/organic framework. The sum is a calmly stunning architectural tone poem, deeply resonant in a special place and time, earthy and exotic all at once.



More images available on The GBC CD-ROM.  Contributions appreciated.



Plan Drawing

Site Plan Drawing


Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Discussion Villa Mairea Commentary

"The Villa Mairea was built as a country house for the architect's friends Marie and Harry Gullichsen. The house stands in the middle of a pine forest at the top of a hill in western Finland. The house looks out mainly on to continuous unbroken stretches of forest, with a narrow vista through an opening in the trees on to a river and sawmill (which at the time of the house's construction was one of the first industrial enterprises in this part of Finland).

"Although the inner court is open on one side, the forest creates an effective 'wall' enclosing it. A sauna and swimming pool are located on the opposite side from the large living room on the ground floor."

— Karl Fleig. Alvar Aalto. New York: Praeger Publishers. p175.


The villa was designed 1937 to 1938 and built 1938 to 1939.

The sauna wing was constructed of Finnish fir, while the balconies and parts of the exterior were clad in teak.

Sources on Villa Mairea

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. four-square diagram, p188. — Updated edition available at

Dunster, David, ed. Alvar Aalto. London: St. Martin's Press, Academy Editions, 1984.

Karl Fleig. Alvar Aalto. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1975. NA1455.F53A239. ISBN 0-275-49660-0. p175-9.

Karl Flieg, ed. Alvar Aalto, Volume 1. Scarsdale, NY: Wittenborn, 1963. NA1455.F53A22 v.1. p108. site plan, p109. lower floor plan, p110. upper floor plan, p118. stair elevation, p118. stair section detail, p118. — A definitive 'complete works' of Aalto. Although a bit dated, an invaluable reference for students of Alvar. Available at

Malcolm Quantrill. Alvar Aalto: A Critical Study. New York: Schocken Books. ISBN 0-8052-3845-X. NA1455.F53A237. p83-92.

J.M. Richards. 600 Years of Finnish Architecture. p150.

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture—Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. exterior photo, p43. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography. Available at

Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986. ISBN 0-13-044702-1. LC 85-11988. NA200.T7 1985b. exterior photo facing the long elevation, f885, p558. — Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Villa Mairea


Web Resources
Links on Villa Mairea

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