The Alvar Aalto Medal’s 50th jubilee: winners past and present

The Alvar Aalto Medal’s 50th jubilee: winners past and present

The Alvar Aalto Medal paying tribute to Finland’s most-loved architect celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017. To mark this important jubilee, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Alvar Aalto Museum will jointly host a collaborative exhibition. Also marking this special occasion, the medal will be awarded one year early, in autumn 2017.

The Alvar Aalto Medal was founded 50 years ago by the Association of Finnish Architects, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Finnish Architectural Society to address the absence of a prestigious prize recognizing outstanding standards of creative excellence in the field of architecture. The Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Helsinki later also joined the award committee. In its founding year, 1967, the medal was awarded to Alvar Aalto, who is also the designer of the medal.

Over the past five decades, the medal has been awarded to 12 architects, all of whom have made an outstanding creative contribution in the architectural profession. The winners have included the designer of the iconic Sydney Opera House, Denmark’s Jørn Utzon (1982), and Steven Holl (1998), the US architect who is known to all Finns and has a visible presence in the capital as the designer of one of Helsinki’s architectural landmarks, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.

Over the past 50 years, the medal has been awarded to architects from ten different countries around the world. The Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Alvar Aalto Museum have co-curated a joint autumn exhibition celebrating the 50-year history of the Alvar Aalto Medal showcasing all previous winners of the award up to the present day. The exhibition provides a comprehensive review of this elite group of medal-winners: all have made a significant contribution to the evolution of architecture, reflecting its key trends and directions from over the past 50 years.

As a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Alvar Aalto Medal – which is normally presented at three-year intervals, mostly recently in 2015 – the thirteenth medal will be presented one year early, in autumn 2017. An international jury will gather on the weekend following Alvar Aalto’s birthday (February 3, 2017) to evaluate the candidates. The winner will be announced in September 2017. Parallel to the exhibition of previous prize-winners, the Museum of Finnish Architecture will also host a smaller exhibition of the 2017 medal winner.

The international Alvar Aalto Medal jury will consist of four members this year: the Japanese architect Toshiko Mori, Danish architect Tina Saaby and Finnish architects Asmo Jaaksi and Vesa Oiva.

The world-renowned architect Toshiko Mori heads his eponymous practice, Toshiko Mori Architects, and is the keynote speaker at the Architecture Day seminar on February 3, 2017. Mori’s office creates architectural solutions that improve quality of life and engage in a respectful dialogue with their particular cultural setting.

Tina Saaby has been Copenhagen’s Chief City Architect since 2010, and she has an extensive history of planning experience as head of Witraz Architects. She additionally chairs the advisory board of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Asmo Jaaksi is a founding member of JKMM Architects. Over the past 20 years, JKMM has notched up a formidable list of awards and nominations. Jaaksi is currently supervising the construction of the new Amos Rex Art Museum adjoining Helsinki’s Glass Palace.

Vesa Oiva ranks among Finland’s most accomplished architects of the younger generation. He is the founder of Anttinen Oiva Architects, a practice that has gained recognition for its expressive and user-friendly architecture, particularly through architectural competitions.

The jubilee of the Alvar Aalto Medal is part of Finland official centenary programme in 2017.
Read more on the Alvar Aalto Medal jubilee website opening February 3:

For further information and press images
Hanna Ruokomäki, Communications
Tel. 045 7731 046

Winners of the Alvar Aalto Medal

1967 Alvar Aalto

1973 Hakon Ahlberg (Sweden)

1978 James Stirling (UK)

1982 Jørn Utzon (Denmark)

1985 Tadao Ando (Japan)

1988 Alvaro Siza (Portugal)

1992 Glenn Murcutt (Australia)

1998 Steven Holl (USA)

2003 Rogelio Salmona (Columbia)

2009 Tegnestuen Vandkunsten (Denamrk)
This is the only occasion on which medal has been awarded to a group of architects rather than an individual architect.

2012 Paulo David (Portugal)

2015 Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano (Spain)