Alvar Aalto in Germany: Drawing Modernism

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Catalogue of the exhibition 'Alvar Aalto in Germany: Drawing Modernism'

ed. by Sofia Singler/Nadejda Bartels

in German and English

168 pages, hardcover, published in 2023

ISBN: 978-3-944899-21-3

The Finnish architects Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) and Elissa Aalto (1922–1994) are counted among the most prolific and widely admired modernists of all time. Exquisitely skilled in handling light and natural materials, and in crafting intimate connections between landscape, building and urban space, the Aaltos are renowned worldwide for their concept of “humane” modernism.
The exhibition Alvar Aalto in Germany: Drawing Modernism at the Museum of Architectural Drawing, presented in collaboration with the Alvar Aalto Foundation in Finland, shows over 70 original drawings by the Aaltos and their eponymous architectural studio.
For the first time, drawings from all fourteen of the studio’s German projects are displayed in the same space. The selection of drawings spans from the 1950s, when Alvar Aalto was invited to contribute to the vast (re)construction efforts that followed the Second World War, to the 1980s, when Elissa Aalto boldly brought to completion major projects that were left unfinished upon her husband’s death in 1976.
For members of Studio Aalto, paper was the basic substance that kept alive the creative process. The drawings were not art. They are beautiful, but never self-consciously precious: their visual appeal is a by-product rather than the goal of the design process. The rambling, collaborative, spontaneous nature of Studio Aalto’s drawing practice is immediately apparent from the drawings on display. As material traces of thinking, they are honest, dense – and irresistibly alluring.