Alvar Aalto’s architecture will be described and analyzed by others here. I’ll just try to find some threads that lead from the man to the work. What is it that gives Aalto his special position among the greats of our time in architecture? Among other things, the simple means he moves with. And the musical rhythm of the form. While others play the saxophone and percussion, Aalto is faithful to its Finnish kantele. Wood, Nordic birch and pine, brick bricks are his material. Which he treats superbly, like no other. Concrete too, of course, but really mostly as material for the construction.
Aalto spent a few years in the United States, as we know. Could have become a star there, biggest in the world perhaps. But saddened by all the modern hassle, the abundance of supply in materials and technology, all the inhuman, the narrow, the shiny and the licked, longed to return to the Finnish harshness. And on that basis became world champion. Alvar Aalto has rightly been called one of the great humanists of our time. Man – “the little man” he usually says – is always at the center when he builds. His architecture is never self-assertive or self-serving, is made to serve without betrayal, masculine, moderate and calm. But with a sensitivity and tenderness, which must have had its root in the heart before the hand took over.