Press release March 17, 2009

Internet exhibition on Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea



This year, seventy years will have elapsed since the Villa Mairea, one of Alvar Aalto’s best-known private houses, was completed. In honour of the occasion, the Alvar Aalto Museum has put together an online exhibition about the Villa Mairea, which presents the history of the house from the earliest sketches right through to the as-built details.
 
The Villa Mairea at Noormarkku was completed in 1939 as the home of Harry and Maire Gullichsen. It was commissioned by the managing director of the Ahlström Group for himself and his family. The original, unbiased approach to the design demonstrates the owners’ interest in modern art and architecture. Maire Gullichsen, the lady of the house, had a substantial art collection, and the disposition of the collection around the house was one of the parameters for the design. The solutions implemented in the building were progressive and experimental in their day, and as architects Aino and Alvar put it: “It is possible to use a one-off architectural commission as a kind of experimental laboratory where things can be done which are not possible with today’s methods of mass production, but which will gradually spread further and become available to one and all as production methods advance.”


 
The architects Aino and Alvar Aalto were given an unusually large amount of artistic freedom in designing the Villa Mairea. The numerous sketches of the building show how the design was developed again and again. The result is a building that has been called the most beautiful private house designed by Aalto, a building where free forms and natural materials have been used plentifully.
 
The exhibition, which has been put together in Finnish and English, includes detailed information about the initial stages of the project and its various stages of development. The exhibition is made up of original architectural drawings and photographs. Amongst the illustrations are photographs taken while the house was under construction and shortly after completion, plus later photographic material. The text for the exhibition, which is mainly based on material from the Museum archives, was written by Teija Isohauta and the entire exhibition has been realised by web designer Päivi Hintsanen.
 
This online exhibition about the Villa Mairea is an important addition to the Alvar Aalto Museum’s series of exhibitions on architecture to be found on the Internet. There are already two exhibitions on the Internet, one on Paimio Sanatorium (1928-33), published in 2003, and one on Säynätsalo Town Hall (1949-52), produced by the municipality of Säynätsalo in 2006. The idea behind these online exhibitions is to provide researchers and the general public with information about Alvar Aalto’s more important buildings.
 
The online exhibition can be found at: http://www.alvaraalto.fi/net/villa_mairea/en/




For further information please contact :
Alvar Aalto Museo
Mirkka Vidgrén, Information Officer,
tel. +358 (0)400 254 708, mirkka.vidgren@alvaraalto.fi
Teija Isohauta, Curator of Education,
tel. +358 (0)40 355 9162, teija.isohauta@alvaraalto.fi