The preeminent Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) developed in the postwar years an architectural language all his own, characterized by curved walls, singlepitched roofs, and inventive combinations of wood and brick. He was also engaged in design at all scales, from the planning of cities, including Helsinki, to the design of furniture and glassware. This book provides a brief but comprehensive look at Aalto’s life, works, theory, and relevance for the twenty-first century.The first section of the book offers an account of Aalto’s life, including his friendships with such twentieth-century masters as Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The second section looks closely at six of Aalto’s most important buildings, among them Baker House in Boston and the concert hall in Helsinki. In the final sections of the book, Nicholas Ray examines several general themes relating to Aalto’s work and philosophy. Ray also offers an original and provocative view of Aalto’s theory, arguing that the architect’s position consistently opposed that of his contemporaries and indeed of most architects to this day.
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