The Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, whose work exemplifies the best of the 20th-centtury Scandinavian architecture, was one of the first to depart from the stiffly geometric designs common to the early period of the modern movement and to stress informality and personal expression. His style is regarded as both romantic and regional. He used complex forms and varied materials, acknowledged the character of the site, and gave attention to every details of building. He also was active in city planning and furniture design. Aalto achieved an international reputation through his more than 200 buildings and projects, ranging from factories to churches, a number of them built outside Finland.
Early work. Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was born in Kuortane, in west central Finland, on February 3, 1898. His architectural studies at the Technical Institute of Helsinki in Otaniemi were interrupted by the Finnish War of Independence, in which he participated. Following his graduation in 1921, Aalto toured Europe and upon his return began practice in Jyvaskyla, in central Finland. In 1927 he moved his office to Turku, where he worked in association with Erick Bryggman until 1933, the year in which he moved to Helsinki. In 1925 he married Aino Marsio, a fellow student, who served as his professional collaborator until her death in 1949. The couple had two childe.
The years 1927 and 1928 were significant in Aalto’s career. He received commissions for three important buildings that established him as the most advanced architect in Finland and brought him worldwide recognition as well. These were the Turun Sanomat Building (newspaper office) in Turku, the tuberculosis sanatorium at Paimio, and the Municipal Library at Viipuri (now Vyborg). His plans for the last two were chosen in a competition, a common practice with public buildings in Finland. –William Benton (1943-1973), Helen Hemingway Benton (1973-1974). “The New Encyclopedia Britannica”
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