125 Years Since The Birth of Alvar Aalto – Anniversary Events Bring Aalto into the 2020s
The 125th anniversary of Alvar Aalto’s birth on February 3, 2023 was a flagging day in Finland in honour of Finnish architecture and design. “In this anniversary year, we want to tell the general public about the extent of Alvar Aalto’s life’s work in different periods. That includes his childhood and youth, collaboration with both Aino and Elissa Aalto, the history of his architect’s office and, finally, the fostering of its heritage. The output of Aalto’s office and the many themes it raises are topical today. Aalto was an advocate of humane design and of taking nature into account – subjects that speak to us right now,” says Alvar Aalto Foundation CEO Tommi Lindh.
Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) and his architect wives Aino Aalto (1894–1949) and Elissa Aalto (1922–1994) all aspired to achieve integrated designs, in which the architecture and interior of a building – the lighting, furnishings, textiles, and outdoor spaces – are almost seamlessly articulated into a unified whole. Everyone at Aalto’s architect’s office worked towards a common goal – sustainable architecture and design marked by a human-centred approach and a connection with nature.
The Alvar Aalto 125 anniversary year embodies the spirit of Aalto and lets us look through the multi-coloured kaleidoscope of the architect’s production and heritage.
The highpoint of the anniversary year is the opening on 27.5.2023 of the Aalto2 museum hub. It combines two Alvar Aalto-designed edifices, the Museum of Central Finland (1956–61, 1991) and the Alvar Aalto Museum (1971–73). The new section built between the two museums has been designed by Arkkitehtitoimisto A-Konsultit Oy and forms a connection between the two buildings, where people can experience a fascinating piece of the history of Central Finland and delve into Alvar Aalto’s thrilling architecture and design.
The museum hub’s major opening exhibition Ihmisen jäljet – maailmanperintöä / Human Traces – World Heritage takes up world-heritage themes ranging from Aalto’s architecture to the Finnish sauna tradition. The public can learn about the local cultural heritage in the Museum of Central Finland’s permanent exhibition Exploring Central Finland. The Alvar Aalto Museum’s new main exhibition AALTO – Work and Life introduces Aalto’s production and the ideas behind his design to constantly new target audiences.
Picks from the Alvar Aalto 125 anniversary-year events:
14–15.6.2023, 5th international Alvar Aalto Researchers’ Network Seminar – Whose modernism?
Aalto2, Alvar Aallon katu 7, Jyväskylä.
The two-day, international Alvar Aalto researchers’ seminar focusses on origins, creative processes, and development trajectories in modern design. The English-language seminar is open to all. Entry fee. More details here.
26.8–3.9.2023, Alvar Aalto Week, Kotka
The seventh consecutive Alvar Aalto Week invites you to Kotka to view the local built environment and rich industrial heritage. This live urban event puts the spotlight on architecture, design and art, and on the phenomena underlying them.