Curriculum Vitae

Father of Alvar Aalto, J.H. Aalto was a surveyor, under whose table the little Alvar use to crawl. But already at the age of four he got acquainted with the philosophy of the pen and paper. From his father Alvar learned social mentality, perfect dressing and gestures of man of the world. Though he also possessed a wild temperament of an anarchist and creativity from her mother.

The connecting factor of the families was nature, forest and fields. Special contact to the forest Alvar gained from his grandfather who was a forest officer. From him Alvar learnt the wisdom of forest - "The forest can live without human being, but human being cannot live without the forest."

The family of Aalto moved to Jyväskylä when Alvar was five years old. It was a drastic change in every way. They chose to live by the beautiful central ridge, harju. The first fin-nish taught secondary school in Finland was located in Jyväskylä, which influenced con-siderably in their choice of the town. Their family language was Swedish but the mentality was very liberal and Finnish.

Alvar was already in the early age very creative child. He drew portraits of the family, took classes from painter Jonas Heiska and was taught to play piano as well. He became famil-iar with the world literature in the early stage and especially Anatole France was one of his favourites.

According to his own words Alvar decided already fairly young to become an architect. The first indication of his career choice was the drawings of three storey snow castle that he made in 1910. It's speciality was a roof terrace. Having chosen a career as an architect, he travelled to Helsinki, where the Polytechnic (now Helsinki University of Technology) was the only place in Finland where architecture was taught. As a practice work he designed city hall for his home town Jyväskylä. In this design, that was never actualised, he used the features of Jugend style for the first and only time.

From the book Alvar Aalto and Finland 1966 by Louna Lahti

Alvar Aalto

1898 born at Kuortane on February 3rd
1916 matriculation from Jyväskylä Classical Lyceum
1921 diploma of architecture at the Institute of Technology, Helsinki
1923-27 private architectural office in Jyväskylä (from 1924 in collaboration with Aino Aalto)
1924 married to architect Aino Marsio (died in 1949)
1927-33 private architectural office in Turku
1933 private architectural office in Helsinki
1943-58 Chairman of the Association of Finnish Architects SAFA (Honorary Member since 1958)
1946-48 Professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.I.T. (Cambridge, USA)
1952 married to architect Elissa Mäkiniemi (died in 1994)
1955- member of the Finnish Academy (Emeritus Member since 1968)
1963-68 President of the Finnish Academy
1976 died in Helsinki on May 11th

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