Coffee with Alvar Aalto

Last night, my wife & I had what must have been the 200th argument about the merits of Alvar Aalto.

I, being an Architect, think Aalto can do no wrong. My wife, not being an Architect, feels he may (in fact) have done some wrong. I’m drawn to Aalto’s work. I love his use of materials, and textures, the integration of nature into the buildings, and the warmth of the spaces. There’s a sculptural quality and even an oddness to his designs at first glance. But, on second, third, and 200th glance you start to see the underlying order. The windows angle to the sun. The roof slopes play off the slopes in the surrounding land. The multiple materials break up the forms and reduce the building to a human scale. His work is comfortable, warm, AND modern. Almost no one else could pull that off. Plus, Aalto’s from Finland, and that’s just cool.

My wife thinks its just too brown.

What do you think? (there’s that comment form right down there just waiting to be filled out)


* All images are of Villa Mairea, Noormarkku Finland, by Alvar Aalto – photos via Flickr under creative commons license