The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Alvar Alto House in the district of Munkkiniemi was the building where the famed architect developped most of his life and career of the. The house now serves as a home museum. Alvar and Aino Aalto designed the house at Riihitie 20 as their home and architectural office in 1935-36.

The Aalto House technical information

I tell you, it is easier to build a grand opera or a city center than to build a personal house.

– Alvar Aalto

The Aalto House Photographs

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto

© Chen Hao

The Aalto House description

In 1934, Aino and Alvar Aalto acquired a site in almost completely untouched surroundings at Riihitie in Helsinki’s Munkkiniemi. They started designing their own house which was completed in August 1936.

The house was designed as both a family home and an office and these two functions can clearly be seen from the outside. The slender mass of the office wing is in white-painted, lightly rendered brickwork. There are still clear references to Functionalism in the location of the windows. The cladding material of the residential part is slender, dark-stained timber battens. The building has a flat roof and a large south-facing terrace.

Although the streetside elevation of the house is severe and closed-off, it is softened by climbing plants and a slate path leading up to the front door. There are already signs of the ‘new’ Aalto in the Aalto House, of the Romantic Functionalist. The plentiful use of wood as a finishing material and four open hearts built in brick also point to this.

The Aalto House anticipates the Villa Mairea, a luxury residence where Aalto’s creativity was able to come into full bloom. But in contrast to its larger sister, the Aalto House is a cosy, intimate building for living and working, designed by two architects for themselves, using simple uncluttered materials.

The Aalto House Plans

The Aalto House Plans The Aalto House Plans The Aalto House elevation

The Aalto House Gallery

About Alvar Aalto

Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer, as well as a sculptor and painter. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware. Aalto’s early career runs in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the twentieth century and many of his clients were industrialists; among these were the Ahlström-Gullichsen family.

The span of his career, from the 1920s to the 1970s, is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicism of the early work, to a rational International Style Modernism during the 1930s to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards. His furniture designs were considered Scandinavian Modern. What is typical for his entire career, however, is a concern for design as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art; whereby he – together with his first wife Aino Aalto – would design not just the building, but give special treatments to the interior surfaces and design furniture, lamps, and furnishings and glassware.

Cite this article: "The Aalto House / Alvar Aalto," in ArchEyes, August 26, 2016, http://archeyes.com/the-aalto-house-alvar-aalto/.