The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Alvar Aalto

Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto (February 3, 1898 - May 11, 1976) was a Finnish architect.

He was a Scandinavian modernist designer, noted for his humanistic approach to modernism. His work includes architecture, furniture, and glassware. He was one of the first and most influential architects of the Scandinavian modern movement, and a member of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne. Major works include the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland, and the campus of Helsinki University of Technology. Aalto's glassware includes the world-famous Aalto Vase.


Life and Works

Alvar Aalto was born in Kuortane, Finland. He studied architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology from 1916 to 1921. He returned to Jyväskylä, where he opened his first architectural office in 1923. 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's wide field of activity ranged from furniture and glassware designs to architecture and painting. His vase designs are world-famous. Aalto furniture is manufactured by Artek, a company Aalto co-founded. Aalto glassware (Aino as well as Alvar) is manufactured by iittala.

Significant buildings

External links





Göran Schildt

Göran Schildt has written and edited many books on Aalto.

  • Aalto, Alvar. The Architectural Drawings of Alvar Aalto, 1917-1939, in eleven volumes. Prepared by the Alvar Aalto Archive in collaboration with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki, and the Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä; with introduction and project descriptions by Göran Schildt. New York, Garland Pub., 1994.
  • Aalto, Alvar. Alvar Aalto in His Own Words. Schildt, Göran, (Ed.) Rizzoli, New York, 1998.
  • Schildt, Göran. Alvar Aalto: the complete catalogue of architecture, design, and art. Timothy Binham, English translator. Rizzoli, New York, 1994.

Other authors

  • Reed, Peter (Ed.) Alvar Aalto: between humanism and materialism. Museum of Modern Art/H.N. Abrams. New York, 1998.

Research notes

  • Aalto is famous and books have been written on many of his designs. They are also documented in the various architectural magazines.
  • One of the most extensive collections of references on Alvar Aalto in the USA can be found at the University of Oregon.

Last updated: 05-07-2005 04:51:39
Last updated: 05-07-2005 18:09:53