Architecture of the Essential: The 6th International Alvar Aalto Symposium

Front Cover
Alvar Aalto Symposium, 1994 - Architecture, Modern - 176 pages
"In the personality of Alvar Aalto, idealism and realism combined like the poles of a dynamo whose opposing forces form the source of its energy. He was a creative artist and idealist for whom social and technical issues were also at the very core of his architectural oeuvre. A significant, but less known phase of Aalto's life work occurred during and immediately after the 2nd World War, the subsequent reconstruction period of Finnish society. The nation was in a state of crisis, material and technical resources down to a minimum, but Aalto reacted to this situation energetically, realistically and with a great deal of optimism, developing innumerable projects from simple standard housetypes to large-scale reconstruction and planning strategies. The extreme circumstances following the aftermath of war forced people to re-evaluate what was essential and necessary and to eliminate all excess. An inventive mind might manage to create more from less. The present state of the world is also in a situation which requires serious evaluation and balancing of values and resources. This year's symposium is held in a climate of economic and social upheaval. In rich, industrial countries, the 'consumer fling' is over and the global balance is precarious to say the least. We have chosen the title of the symposium to stress the need to discuss what should be the essence of the art and technique of building when all that one can afford are the basic essentials. This discussion does not revolve around questions of architectural style but rather on the fundamental material and spiritual living conditions vital for our culture to survive and prosper. Alvar Aalto's partner, Elissa Aalto, was a central figure in the organisation of all the symposiums since 1976. She took part actively also in the planning of this year's symposium until her death in Spring 1994"--Foreword.

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