Term Paper: Alvar Aalto Architecture Is Rightly

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[. . .] For a detail analysis of the work of Alvar Aalto, The Muuratsalo Experimental House would be taken into consideration which was built in the year 1952. The site for the Muuratsalo Experimental House, situated on the western shore of the island of Muuratsalo, was discovered when the Town Hall of Saynatsalo was under construction. The site measuring 53650 square meters is rocky and can even be considered primitive for its appearance with the boulders and stones covered moss, vegetation and forest, taking up most of this rocky site.

The house quite literally seems to be tucked away in the very pine forest that surrounds it and maintains a connection with the nature, which is one of the most basic connections that must have thrived between the primitive man and his surroundings. Although the main summer house has come to be known as the Experimental House, but overall, the site consists of "a woodshed, smoke sauna and a boat-house" (Muuratsalo Experimental House n.d.)

The use of material and the contrast within the site with regards to this is essentially the most visible and the most important consideration. The use of material is much in line with the Phenomenological appeal of the site and how any material has the tendency to evoke an experience or a memory while making the interaction with that space a multi-sensory experience.

The most prominent material that has been employed within the site is brick, and even the use is very diverse; from the internal courtyard to the wall of the Experimental House, all are treated with brick. The primitive nature of the house consistent with the context of the house is further affirmed by the use of an open fireplace placed in the center of the courtyard. It is a reminder of the time when men and women used to gather around the fire in the open air and share their stories, of a time when fire and the hearth were the center of their lives.

The bricks employed in the facade of the house are all of different colors and sizes and creates playfulness to the overall scheme of the house. A total of 50 different types of brick has been used within the entire house and includes countless patterns that have been used, which adds to the experimental dimension of the house, without taking too much away from the context (Galinsky 2007).

The orientation and the scheme of the house is carefully directed and oriented to take in the best views from the surroundings, which include besides the forest, a lake as well. The placement of the house is much considerate in taking the natural topography into consideration and the courtyard is designed in such a way to anchor itself with the natural rock platform. This positioning is much helpful from a sustainable point-of-view, as the rock platform absorbs the sunlight and radiates it throughout the day. Another decision that was taken keeping the climatic condition into view was the positioning of the house, which instead of being placed near the lake was taken further back. This decision was taken, despite having a regular topography near the lake side, to protect the house from any flooding that might occur.

The placement of the house takes into consideration the wind flow and the way the entrance has been designed, besides the forest around the house, all play a role in determining the flow of the house from within the house. A small section of the forest has also been domesticated in such a way that it actually becomes a part of the house. Another reason for such a decision is with regards to the protection that the vegetation provides to the adjacent rooms (Marcos 2007). This decision is very critical in a region like Finland with its harsh environments, and insulation through the design and the placement of the rooms and the outcrop around the house, all of them play a very important role.

The phenomenological effect is seen in the house in many places besides the use of the material. One of the most basic human needs has always been that of security and comfort. And in a vast spatial environment like the forest in which the building is set, to achieve such a task can be quite difficult. However, the enclosing of the courtyard revokes that basic human desire of security (Kim 2009).

The house was really a Experimental house in its essence, taking in inspiration from the surrounding and especially nature, and this much was pointed out by Alvar Aalto himself in his interview, in which he described the house to be a center to further develop his theories and experiments "that are not yet sufficiently well developed to be tried out in practice and where the proximity of nature may offer inspiration for both form and structure." Although Aalto wanted to carry out experiments in four areas, these being basically,

1. Building without foundations

2. Free-form brick construction

3. Free-form column structures

4. Solar heating, it was only in two areas that he could try experiment. Building without Foundation and Free-form column structure experiments were carried out in the was carried out in the sub-structure of the Guest wing and the woodshed respectively. However, Free-form brick construction and solar heating experiments were never able to materialize into reality.

Besides this, various dimensions and forms were also experimented upon within the grounds of the Experimental House, including "ceramic materials, different types of brick pointing, different brick sizes and the effect of different surfaces" (Muuratsalo Experimental House n.d.). The reflection of many of these experiments is then visible in many of Alvar Aalto's work, and it was only to the experiment nature of his work that he attributed his success.

For Alvar Aalto, the context was also another major dimension of any design and this is much evident by the approach in both of these projects. The use of the materials, the inspiration and manner in which they were employed all add a beauty and charm to his work. The respect to the surroundings is further accentuated by considering the environment and trying to preserve it to the maximum.

His design was fundamental in creating an identity for newly independent and still struggling nation of Finland. His design was instrumental in carrying forth the traditional Finnish Architecture and exposing and introducing them to the International World, that too under the banner of Modernistic Movement. It also went a long way in introducing the world to what Finnish Architecture is all about, plus also inducing within the people a pride in what they had and what their roots are.

There is very little that Alvar Aalto has written from which we can draw conclusions about what must have been the real intention of the architect for doing what he did. However, it is clear enough that the basic theme of his entire design process and his thinking has been to mould Modernistic Principles to what Finnish Architecture is all about.

For Alvar Aalto, the design was perceived through free sketches and without any bounding so that it can be realized to its full potential. And it was this free form that was translated into the final design. In this manner, he refused to bind himself under any theory that may be popular at that time; instead taking clues from the environment he just moved forward from the basic point and carried that point forth.

It is not surprising that Alvar Aalto is refered to as the "Father of Modern Architecture" (Light Inspired Form: A study of Light in the Work of Alvar Aalto n.d). His work is truly great having a Universal appeal. His work has bought forth Finnish Architecture in a way that today even the mention of Finnish Architecture is directly associated with his work. His work is truly respective of tradition and even Modernism and does its best to integrate the two in his many buildings. He, through his work, has carried an image for both Finland and what modern Architecture should be.

Works Cited

Alvar Aalto. n.d. http://www.aalto-alvar.com / (accessed October 26th, 2011).

Bowring, Jacky. "Sensory Deprivation: Globalisation and the Phenomenology of Landscape Architecture." Lincoln University. n.d. http://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/dspace/bitstream/10182/61/1/sensory_deprivation.pdf (accessed October 25th, 2011).

Fascia, Flavia. "Alvar Aalto." Napoli.

Fores, Jamir J. Ferrer. "Tradition in Nordic Architecture."

Galinsky. Experimental House, Muuratsalo, Finland. 2007. http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/experimentalhouse/index.html (accessed October 30th, 2011).

Kim, Hyon-Sob. "Alvar Aalto and Humanizing of Architecture." Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, 2009: 91-16.

"Light Inspired Form: A study of Light in the Work of Alvar Aalto." University of Houston. n.d. http://www.uh.edu/honors/_documents/Posters-UR-Day-2010/poster-pdfs-o-r/Ostaszewski-Natasha.pdf (accessed October 25th, 2011).

Marcos, Guimaraes. "Bioclimatism and space use in Alvar Aalto's Summer House." Virtual Conference on Sustainable Architectural Design and Urban Planning. 2007.

Muuratsalo Experimental House. n.d. http://www.alvaraalto.fi/experimentalhouse.htm (accessed October 29th, 2011).

Shirazi, M. Reza. "The Fragile Phenomenology of Juhani Pallasmaa." College… [END OF PREVIEW]

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