Henrik Aalto
December, 2012
Fallingwater or Kaufm
ann Residence
Hugo Alvar Henrik
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was born in Kuortane, Finland. His
father, Johan Henrik Aalto, was a Finnish-speaking landsurveyor and his mother, Selly (Selma) Matilda (née
Hackstedt) was a postmistress. When Aalto was 5 years
old, the family moved to Alajärvi, and from there
to Jyväskylä in Central Finland. Aalto studied at the
Jyväskylä Lyceum school, completing his basic education
in 1916. In 1916 he then enrolled to study architecture at
the Helsinki University of Technology, graduating in 1921.
In 1923 he returned to Jyväskylä, where
he opened his first architectural office.
Jyväskylä would become a notable city
for his architecture, with more buildings
designed by him than in any other
city. The following year he married
architect Aino Marsio. Their honeymoon
journey to Italy sealed an intellectual
the Mediterranean region that was to
remain important to Aalto for the rest of
his life. The Aaltos moved their office to
Turku in 1927, and started collaborating
with architect Erik Bryggman. The office
moved again in 1933 to Helsinki.
The Aaltos designed and
built a joint house-office
(1935–36) for themselves
in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki,
but later (1954–56) had a
purpose-built office built
in the same neighbourhood
- the latter building
nowadays houses the Alvar
Aalto Academy. Aino and
Alvar Aalto had 2 children,
"Hanni" Alanen, born Aalto,
1925, and a son Hamilkar
Aalto, 1928.
In 1926 the young. Aaltos designed and had built a summer cottage in Alajärvi, Villa
Flora. Aino Aalto died of cancer in 1949. In 1952 Aalto married architect Elissa
Mäkiniemi (died 1994), who had been working as an assistant in his office. In 1952
Aalto designed and had built a summer cottage, the so-called Experimental House,
for himself and his new wife in Muuratsalo in Central Finland. Alvar Aalto died on May
11 1976, in Helsinki
Aalto's career spans the changes in style from (Nordic Classicism) to purist International Style Modernism to a
more personal, synthetic and idiosyncratic Modernism. Aalto's wide field of design activity ranges from the large
scale of city planning and architecture to interior design, furniture andglassware design and painting. It has been
estimated that during his entire career Aalto designed over 500 individual buildings, approximately 300 of which
were built, the vast majority of which are in Finland. He also has a few buildings in the France, Germany, Italy
and the USA.
Aalto claimed that his paintings were not made as individual artworks but as part of his process of architectural
design, and many of his small-scale "sculptural" experiments with wood led to later larger architectural details
and forms. These experiments also led to a number of patents: for example, he invented a new form of
laminated bent-plywood furniture in 1932. His experimental method had been influenced by his meetings with
various members of the Bauhaus design school, especially László Moholy-Nagy, whom he first met in 1930. Aalto's
furniture was exhibited in London in 1935, to great critical acclaim, and to cope with the consumer demand
Aalto, together with his wife Aino, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl founded the company Artek that same
year. Aalto glassware (Aino as well as Alvar) is manufactured by Iittala.
Aalto's 'High Stool' and 'Stool E60' (manufactured by Artek) are currently used in Apple stores across the world to
serve as seating for customers. Finished in black lacquer, the stools are used to seat customers at the 'Genius Bar'
and also in other areas of the store at times when seating is required for a product workshop or special event.
Significant buildings
KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark (1958–72)
1921–1923: Bell tower of Kauhajärvi Church, Lapua, Finland
1924–1928: Municipal hospital, Alajärvi, Finland
1926–1929: Defence Corps Building, Jyväskylä, Finland
1927–1935: Municipal library, Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia)
1928–1929, 1930: Turun Sanomat newspaper offices, Turku, Finland
1928–1929: Paimio Sanatorium, Tuberculosis sanatorium and staff housing, Paimio, Finland
1931: Central University Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia (former Yugoslavia)
1932: – Villa Tammekann, Tartu, Estonia
1934: Corso theatre, restaurant interior, Zürich, Switzerland
1936–1938: Ahlstrom Sunila Pulp Mill, Housing, and Town Plan, Kotka
1937–1939: Villa Mairea, Noormarkku, Finland
1939: Finnish Pavilion, at the 1939 New York World's Fair
1947–1948: Baker House, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
1949–1966: Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
1949–1952: Säynätsalo Town Hall, 1949 competition, built 1952, Säynätsalo (now part of Jyväskylä), Finland
1950–1957: Kansaneläkelaitos (National Pension Institution) office building, Helsinki, Finland
Furniture and glassware
Tea cart (tea trolley)
Armchair 400 with reindeer fur
1932: Paimio Chair
1933: Three-legged stacking Stool 60
1933: Four-legged Stool E60
1935-6: Armchair 404 (a/k/a/ Zebra Tank Chair)
1939: Armchair 406
1954: Floor lamp A805
1959: Floor lamp A810
1936: Aalto Vase
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Fallingwater or Kaufmann
Residence is a house designed
by architect Frank Lloyd
Wright in 1935 in rural
southwestern Pennsylvania, 43
of Pittsburgh. The home was
built partly over a waterfall
on Bear Run in the Mill Run
Pennsylvania, in the Laurel
Highlands of the Allegheny
Hailed by Time shortly after its
completion as Wright's "most
beautiful job", it is listed
among Smithsonian's Life List of
28 places "to visit before you
die." It was designated a National
Historic Landmark in 1966. In
1991, members of the American
Institute of Architects named the
house the "best all-time work of
American architecture" and in
2007, it was ranked twenty-ninth
on the list of America's Favorite
Architecture according to the AIA
Design and construction
Once Wright had decided the location of the house, he had the
obvious problem of building it there. The location of the north
bank of Bear Run was not large enough to provide a foundation for
a typically built Wright house. Beyond this issue, there were also
the clients' needs that had to be met. The Kaufmanns planned to
entertain large groups of people, so the house would need to be
larger than the plot allowed. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Kaufmann
requested separate bedrooms as well as a bedroom for their adult
son and an additional guest room.
Wright's solution to the problem of space came when he
decided on a cantilevered structure.
The structural design for Fallingwater was undertaken by
Wright in association with staff engineers Mendel
Glickman and William Wesley Peters, who had been
responsible for the columns featured in Wright’s
revolutionary design for the Johnson Wax Headquarters.
approval on October
15, 1935, after which
Wright made a further
visit to the site and
estimate for the job.
In December 1935 an
old rock quarry was
reopened to the west
of the site to provide
the stones needed for
the house’s walls.
Wright only made
periodic visits during
construction, instead
final working drawings
were issued by Wright
in March 1936 with
work beginning on the
bridge and main house
in April 1936.

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