Hailing from Finland, Alvar Aalto was an architect and designer who was born in the municipality of Kuortane located in the Southwest region of Finland. From 1916 to 1921, Alvar Aalto attended the Helsinki Polytechnic Institute. During these years, Aalto was mentored by Armas Lindgren, a popular name in the Finnish National Romanticism scene.
Alvar Aalto served in militia after the Russian Revolution. Alvar Aalto established his first practice in Jyvaskyla, Finland. This city has more architectural designs created by Aalto than any other city in the world.
In 1927, Alvar Aalto teamed up with Erik Bryggamn, another former student of Lindgren’s, to create the design that represented the Turku Fair for the year 1929. Alvar Aalto’s influences when it comes to his designs run the gamut from classicism, to Gunnar Asplund to Ragnar Ostberg to Northern Italy to austerity to Palladian. Aalto used both details and simplicity in executing his designs. The simplicity was important for Aalto when creating wooden designs.
It was important for Aalto to display aspects of Finnish culture in his work.
Alvar Aalto’s designing style changed numerous times during his fifty plus year career. First, he adopted the traits expressed by Nordic Classicism with its simple, structural, and urban style.
Later on, Alvar Aalto picked up on a modern version of the International Style that eschewed embellishments in architectural displays and focused on maintaining balance and volume. This was also known as “functionalism.”
Alvar Aalto developed a style that could be described as experimental, romantic and picturesque during the 1930s. Harry and Marie Gullichsen who were a wealthy industrial couple were responsible for giving Aalto commissions all over Finland to create unusual pieces of architecture.
During his twilight years, Alvar Aalto began working on a fourth type of style that is often described a monumentalism. This style conveyed power and a commanding presence regarding the design of the buildings created my Aalto at this time. One such building is the Finlandia Concert Hall.
The two buildings that put Alvar Aalto on the map in regards to prominence in the architecture scene were the Paimio Sanatorium and the Viipuri Library.
The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright once described Alvar Aalto’s conception of the Finnish Pavilion as a “work of genius.”
Alvar Aalto married a fellow architect, Aino Marsio . Aino died in 1949.
Alvar Aalto ttended the 1929 meeting of Les Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM).
Artek was the business that created and promoted Alvat Aalto’s creations from furniture to textiles and fabrics to glassware.
The Baker House, which is located on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts was created by Alvar Aalto.
Alvar Aalto’s last architectural project before his death was the Mount Angel Abbey Library located in Mount Angel, Oregon. It was finished in 1970.