Rediscovering Aalto

Funny how you can spend years without thinking of one of your heroes.

Have been getting back into some old Alvar Aalto books and discovered yet again how incredibly ahead of his time he was.

Two projects are by far my favourites: his holiday home called the Muratsalo experimental house (photos here, here & here) and a house for a wealthy client the Villa Mairea (photos here).

Both deal with the relationship between nature and buildings and refer back to tradition in a contemporary way. Parts of both buildings are literally growing. The resulting buildings are unlike anything else; thoroughly modern they also seem traditional and anchored to their site. If you didn't know when they had been build, it would be difficult to guess.

There is something of a Japanese aesthetics in the use of found elements as they are, the strong rapport with nature and the natural materials, but one applied to a different local tradition.

In each case the most extreme example is the sauna building that follow a local tradition of a roof covered with a piece of meadow. In the more leisurely part of the building the architect has allowed himself to be even more experimental and rawer than in the main part of the house.


Experimental house

Aalto Summer House - Muuratsalo, Finland 


Villa Mairea

Villa Mairea - Aalto