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John Stewart

Alvar Aalto: Architect


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Alvar Aalto: Architect – Alvar Aalto remains Finland’s greatest architect, retains his place among the modern masters of 20th century architecture, and is now internationally recognized as one of the greatest architects of all time. For Finland, Aalto, through his architecture, furniture, glasswork and sculpture, has contributed perhaps more than any other Finn to the creation of the cultural identity of the newly independent Finland and to its promotion in the world. His Finnish pavilions in Paris and New York in the 1930s placed Finland at the center of attention, establishing its identity as a modern and innovative country, and aroused enormous interest in this Nordic country of lakes and forests. He went on to work in 18 countries around the world, while designing many of Finland’s most important buildings in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. This new biography of Aalto is the first to comprehensively cover his life, from the hinterland of Ostrabothnia to international fame, and all of his buildings, from early modifications and extensions of stores and houses in Jyvaskyla to Finlandia Palace. The book draws on Aalto’s archives, the recollections of former employees, and contemporary publications to fully explore the architect Alvar Aalto, not just the architecture of Alvar Aalto. For the first time, his life is placed in the context of the events that surrounded and shaped it – the Finnish Civil War, the Great Depression, the Winter War and the Continuation War, the post-war educational boom, the industrialization of Finland, and, finally, the social revolution of the 1960s that led to his characterization as a member of the Finnish elite and to his temporary unpopularity. It covers his life from his childhood in the Jyvaskyla and Alajarvi regions, his architectural studies in Helsinki, his struggles during the civil war to the establishment of his first office, his early neoclassical work and his international breakthrough with the completion of the Paimio Sanatorium and the Viipuri Library. It covers his personal life, his marriage to Aino, professional life in his first office, architectural competitions, key friendships, and his ongoing financial difficulties. As his career progresses, he explores the patrons who have been so important to him – the Gullichsens and the Artek foundation, his new American friends, the chair at MIT. After the war, the death of Aino, marriage to Elissa and the period of his greatest architectural achievements – Saynatsalo City Hall, Otaniemi University and the church in Imatra. He discusses the organization of his new office in Helsinki, the expansion of his team, fame and finally vanity. The book seeks to understand what motivated him, the combination of skills, talents and traits that led to his extraordinary global success. As you know, there is no shortage of books on Alvar Aalto, or to be more precise, there is no shortage of books on the architecture of Alvar Aalto. (There is only one previous biography, first published in 1984 and now out of print). This book, about an architect and his architecture, is written by another architect, not an architectural historian. This is the first frank and complete biography of Alvar Aalto.

  • date of publication : March
  • language : EN
  • pages : 272
  • format : 26.2 x 22.3 x 3
  • binding : Paperback, hardcover
  • ISBN : 9781858946603
  • publishers : Merrell
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