In the mind of the architect, the lush, rolling landscape of Central Finland could be compared with the hills of Tuscany. Aalto had an important role as someone who helped to develop the Jyväskylä townscape – indeed the city has a unique and comprehensive display of his architecture from every decade of his career.
“The Florence of the North”
September, 29 2017 – March 4, 2018
Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery
Alvar Aallon katu 7, Jyväskylä
“Central Finland frequently reminds one of Tuscany, the homeland of towns built on hills, which should provide an indication of how classically beautiful our province could be if built up properly.” Alvar Aalto 1925. To Aalto, Jyväskylä and Central Finland were home, the calf country that was intertwined with his personal history. The schoolboy years of his childhood and youth, the early stages of his career, the establishment of a home and family with the architect Aino Marsio in the 1920s all helped to create a close relationship with the city.
Although the path he trod soon led him away to live in the capital and pursue his career there, his work drew him back to Central Finland over and over again. The summer villa he shared with his second wife Elissa, the Muuratsalo Experimental House, on an island in Lake Päijänne strengthened the link with Central Finland from the 1940s and 1950s onwards.
Alvar Aalto’s interest in Antique culture, especially that of Italy, comes to the fore in some of his earliest designs. Jyväskylä has often been called ‘The Athens of the North’, but Aalto thought that ‘The Florence of the North’ was a better description of the city. Some of the designs which took flight from the architect’s drawing board were never realised. The fate of others was demolition or destruction for some other reason.
This exhibition of ‘lost Jyväskylä and lesser-known Aalto’ which is now opening to the public, is a collection of architectural drawings, photographs and objects from the collections of the Alvar Aalto Museum and the deepest recesses of its archives.