Examining Line As A Heuristic Device In The Design Ethos Of Alvar Aalto
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The significance of line in Alvar Aalto’s design method must be looked at critically as any interpretation of his work lies in the expressionistic, iconological, wavy line sketches so integral to his process. Looking at Aalto’s experiments in wood, glass pieces, furniture design, drawings, and built works, I will illustrate that the line is the experimental media that serves as a point of departure for arriving at a symbiosis between nature and culture, defining everything from the topographical character of a roof line to the tectonic form of a door pull. His upbringing, family life, homeland of Finland, and drawing technique all influence his design method and built work. In this paper, the line is explored as a heuristic device provoking questions and providing insight into Alvar Aalto’s way of experimenting and intervening in land, in light, and in life. Keywords: regionalism, environmental architecture, Scandinavia, Finland, Alvar Aalto, modernism, architectural design. 1 Experimenting and intervening in land The strongest impressions Aalto received were \“from his parents, his childhood, and the surroundings he grew up in. These were the sources on which he drew all his life.” (Schildt ). Born in 1898 in a small village in eastern Finland, Aalto grew up in the town of Jyvaskyla, the unofficial capital of the densely forested Lake District in the heart of Finland. The landscape of this meandering terrain is punctuated by sweeping curves of lakes weaving with forests that lend the region its distinctive character. Goran Schildt has written extensively on the influence of Aalto’s contextual and familial background on his tradition of building. Aalto’s grandfather was a certified forester and a teacher at Evo Forest
regionalism, environmental architecture, Scandinavia, Finland, Alvar Aalto, modernism, architectural design.