Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto on eräs modernin arkkitehtuurin suurimmista arkkitehdeistä. Hän syntyi Kuortaneella 3. helmikuuta vuonna 1898, ja valmistui arkkitehdiksi Teknillisestä korkeakoulusta vuonna 1921. Tämän jälkeen hän perusti arkkitehtitoimiston vanhaan koulukaupunkiinsa Jyväskylään. Vuonna 1923 Aalto solmi avioliiton kollegansa Aino Marsion kanssa, ja aviopari työskenteli siitä lähtien tiiviisti yhdessä. Aallot muuttivat arkkitehtitoimistonsa 1920-luvun lopulla Turkuun, ja lopulta vuonna 1933 Helsinkiin. Alvar Aallon varhainen tuotanto syntyi lähinnä klassismin periaatteisiin nojaten, joista voidaan mainita esimerkkeinä mm. Jyväskylän suojeluskuntatalo, Työväentalo ja Muuramen kirkko. Jo 1920-luvun lopulla hän ryhtyi toteuttamaan funktionalismin ihanteita töissään, ja seuraavalla vuosikymmenellä Aalto loi oman tyylinsä, joka omaperäisyydellään poikkesi kansainvälisestä funktionalismista. Aallon 1930-luvun suunnittelutöistä arvostetuimmat lienevät Paimion parantola ja Viipurin kirjasto.
Toisen maailmansodan jälkeen Aalto työskenteli paljon ulkomailla, mm. Yhdysvalloissa Massachusetts Institute of Technologyn professorina, ja suunnitteli mm. instituutin asuntolan. Tuolloin alkoi Aallon punatiilirakennusten sarja, johon liittyivät 1950-luvulla Helsingin kulttuuritalo ja Säynätsalon kunnantalo sekä Jyväskylän kasvatusopillinen korkeakoulu. Aino Marsio-Aalto kuoli pitkään sairastettuaan vuonna 1949, ja Aalto menetti hänessä myös läheisen työtoverin ja kriitikon. Vuonna 1952 Aalto vei vihille alaisensa Elsa Kaisa (Elissa) Mäkiniemen, ja pariskunta rakennutti Päijänteen rannalle "kokeellisen" kesähuvilan eli Koetalon.
Alvar Aalto valittiin Suomen akatemian jäseneksi vuonna 1955, ja sen esimieheksi vuonna 1963. Aallon tuotanto jatkui 1960-luvulla runsaana, mutta hänen punatiilikautensa päättyi Otaniemen teknillisen korkeakoulun päärakennuksen suunnitteluun. Enso-Gutzeitin toimitalo ja Finlandia-talo päällystettiin valkealla marmorilla, ja 1960-luvulta lähtien Aallon tuotantoon ilmaantui yhä enemmän pyrkimystä monumentaalisuuteen ja yksilöllisyyteen. Aallon kuoleman jälkeen hänen arkkitehtitoimistonsa rakennutti Elissa Aallon ohjauksessa mm. Lahden Ristin kirkon ja Essenin Aalto-teatterin.
Alvar Aalto oli myös kansainvälisesti merkittävä huonekalusuunnittelija ja muotoilija. Hänen tunnusmerkikseen nousivat erityisesti taivutetusta puusta valmistetut huonekalut. Aallon tarkoituksena oli funktionalismin hengessä pyrkiä standardisoidun massatuotannon kautta sosiaalisiin päämääriin ja taiteellisesti yhtenäiseen elinympäristöön. Aino ja Alvar Aalto olivat mukana perustamassa huonekalujen suunnitteluun ja levitykseen erikoistunutta Artekia.
Alvar Aalto kuoli Helsingissä 11. toukokuuta vuonna 1976, ja hänen arkkitehtitoimistonsa sulkeutui lopullisesti vuonna 1994 Elissa Aallon kuoleman myötä.
Alvar Aalto, Nationality Finnish, Birth date February 3, 1898, Birth place Kuortane, Finland, Date of death May 11, 1976 (aged 78)
Buildings Paimio Sanatorium, Viipuri Library, Villa Mairea, Baker House, Finlandia Hall ,Projects Helsinki City Centre
Design Savoy Vase, Paimio Chair
Awards RIBA Gold Medal, AIA Gold Medal
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (February 3 1898, Kuortane – May 11 1976, Helsinki) was a Finnish architect and designer, sometimes called the "Father of Modernism" in the nordic countries. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware. Aalto's early career runs in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the twentieth century and many of his clients were industrialists; among these were the Ahlström-Gullichsen family.
Alvar Aalto was born in Kuortane, Finland. His father, Johan Henrik Aalto, was a Finnish-speaking land-surveyor and his mother, Selly (Selma) Matilda (née Hackstedt) was a post-mistress. When Aalto was 5 years old, the family moved to Alajärvi, and from there to Jyväskylä in Central Finland. Aalto studied at the Jyväskylä Lyceum school, completing his basic education in 1916. In 1916 he then enrolled to study architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology, graduating in 1921.
In 1923 he returned to Jyväskylä, where he opened his first architectural office. The following year he married architect Aino Marsio. Their honeymoon journey to Italy sealed an intellectual bond with the culture of the Mediterranean region that was to remain important to Aalto for the rest of his life. Aalto moved his office to Turku in 1927, and started collaborating with architect Erik Bryggman. The office moved again in 1933 to Helsinki.
Alvar Aalto Studio, Helsinki (1954–56)The Aaltos designed and built a joint house-office (1935–36) for themselves in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, but later (1954-56) had a purpose-built office built in the same neighbourhood. Aino and Alvar Aalto had 2 children, a daughter Johanna "Hanni" Alanen, born Aalto, 1925, and a son Hamilkar Aalto, 1928. In 1926 the young Aaltos designed and had built a summer cottage in Alajärvi, Villa Flora. Aino Aalto died of cancer in 1949. In 1952 Aalto married architect Elissa Mäkiniemi (died 1994), who had been working as an assistant in his office. In 1952 Aalto designed and had built a summer cottage, the so-called Experimental House, for himself and his new wife in Muuratsalo in Central Finland. Alvar Aalto died on May 11, 1976, in Helsinki.
Although he is sometimes regarded as among the first and most influential architects of Nordic modernism, a closer examination of the historical facts reveals that Aalto (while a pioneer in Finland) closely followed and had personal contacts with other pioneers in Sweden, in particular Gunnar Asplund and Sven Markelius. What they and many others of that generation in the Nordic countries had in common was that they started off from a classical education and were first designing in the so-called Nordic Classicism style –a style that had been a reaction to the previous dominant style of National Romanticism– before moving, in the late 1920s, towards Modernism.
Villa Mairea in Noormarkku.In Aalto's case this shift is epitomised by the Viipuri Library (1927–35), which went through a transformation from an originally classical competition entry proposal to the completed high-modernist building. Yet his humanistic approach is in full evidence in the library: the interior displays natural materials, warm colours, and undulating lines. Due to problems over financing and a change of site, the Viipuri Library project lasted eight years, and during that same time he also designed the Turun Sanomat Building (1929–30) and Paimio Sanatorium (1929–33). Thus, the Turun Sanomat Building first heralded Aalto's move towards modernism, and this was then carried forward both in the Paimio Sanatorium and in the on-going design for the library. Although the Turun Sanomat Building and Paimio Sanatorium are comparatively pure modernist works, they too carried the seeds of his questioning of such an orthodox modernist approach and a move to a more daring, synthetic attitude.
Detail of Baker House facade on the Charles River.Aalto was a member of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM), attending the second congress in Frankfurt in 1929 and the fourth congress in Athens in 1933, where he established a close friendship with László Moholy-Nagy and Sigfried Giedion. It was during this time that he followed closely the work of the main driving force behind the new modernism, Le Corbusier.
Auditorium of the University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland (1949-66).It was not until the completion of the Paimio Sanatorium (1929) and Viipuri Library (1935) that Aalto first achieved world attention in architecture. His reputation grew in the USA following the critical reception of his design for the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair, described by Frank Lloyd Wright as a "work of genius". It could be said that Aalto's international reputation was sealed with his inclusion in the second edition of Sigfried Giedion's influential book on Modernist architecture, Space, Time and Architecture: The growth of a new tradition (1949), in which Aalto received more attention than any other Modernist architect, including Le Corbusier. In his analysis of Aalto, Giedion gave primacy to qualities that depart from direct functionality, such as mood, atmosphere, intensity of life and even 'national characteristics', declaring that "Finland is with Aalto wherever he goes".
House of Culture, Helsinki.Aalto's early experiments with wood and his move away from a purist modernism would be tested in built form with the commission to design Villa Mairea (1939) in Noormarkku, the luxury home of the young industrialist couple Harry and Maire Gullichsen. It was Maire Gullichsen who acted as the main client, and she worked closely not only with Alvar but also Aino Aalto on the design, inspiring them to be more daring in their work. The original design was to include a private art gallery, but this was never built. The building forms a U-shape around a central inner "garden" the central feature of which is a kidney-shaped swimming pool. Adjacent to te pool is a sauna, executed in a rustic style, alluding to both Finnish and Japanese precedents. The design of the house is a synthesis of numerous stylistic influences, from traditional Finnish vernacular to purist modernism, as well as influences from English and Japanese architecture. While the house is clearly intended for a wealthy family, Aalto nevertheless argued that it was also an experiment that would prove useful in the design of mass housing.
Finlandia Hall (1962-71)His increased fame led to offers and commissions outside Finland. In 1941 he accepted an invitation as a visiting professor to MIT, in USA. This was during the Second World War, and he involved his students in designing low-cost, small-scale housing for the reconstruction of war-torn Finland. While teaching at MIT, Aalto also designed the student dormitory, Baker House, completed in 1948. This building was the first building of Aalto's redbrick period. Originally used in Baker House to signify the Ivy league university tradition, on his return to Finland Aalto used it in a number of key buildings, in particular several of the buildings in the new Helsinki University of Technology campus, which began from 1950, Säynatsalo Town Hall (1952), Helsinki Pensions Institute (1954), Helsinki House of Culture (1958), as well as his own summer house, the so-called Experimental House in Muuratsalo (1957).
Enso-Gutzeit HQ, Helsinki (1959-62).The early 1960s and 1970s (up until his death in 1976) was marked by key works in Helsinki, in particular the huge town plan for the void in centre of Helsinki adjacent to Töölö Bay and the vast railway yards, and marked on the edges by significant buildings such as the National Museum and the main railway station, both by Eliel Saarinen. In his town plan Aalto proposed a line of separate marble-clad buildings fronting the bay which would house various cultural institutes including a concert hall, opera, museum of architecture and headquarters for the Finnish Academy. The scheme also extended into the Kamppi district with a series of tall office blocks. Aalto first presented his scheme in 1961, but it went through various modifications during the early 1960s. Only two fragements of the overall plan were ever realised, the Finlandia Hall concert hall (1976) fronting Töölö Bay and an office building in the Kamppi district for the Helsinki Electricity Company (1975). The Miesian form language of geometric grids employed in the buildings was also used by Aalto for other sites in Helsinki, including the Enso-Gutzeit building (1962), the Academic Bookstore (1962) and the SYP Bank building (1969).
The Aalto-Theater opera house in Essen, Germany.Following Aalto's death in 1976 his office continued to operate, under the direction of his widow, Elissa. The office was involved in completing works already to some extent designed. These works include the Jyväskylä City Theatre and Essen Opera House