This year, Alvar Aalto Week is being held outside of Finland for the first time: in Wolfsburg, Germany, on 1–11.9.2022. The city has three major Alvar Aalto-designed building complexes – Wolfsburg Cultural Centre (1958–62), Wolfsburg Church (Heilig-Geist-Kirche) and Parish Centre (1959–62) and Detmerode Church (Stephanuskirche) and Parish Centre (1963, 1965–68). The Cultural Centre – opened 60 years ago this August – is one of the main venues for the Week’s events.
Alvar Aalto Week was officially opened at Detmerode Church (Stephanuskirche) on 1.9.2022 in the presence of a large number of invited guests. Also attending were Finnish Ambassador in Berlin, H.E. Anne Sipiläinen and representatives of the Network of Alvar Aalto Cities and Alvar Aalto Foundation. In his opening speech Wolfsburg’s City Planning Director Kai-Uwe Hirschheide thanked actors and associations in the Wolfsburg, Braunschweig and Hannover area for their collaborative effort in putting together the Week’s multifaceted programme of events. “The enthusiasm for and commitment to collaboration of the various actors shows that Aalto’s architecture is an important and valued part of the city’s architectural heritage,” Hirschheide said happily. In his speech the Mayor of Wolfsburg, Dennis Weilmann, emphasized that Aalto’s buildings are prominently linked with the city’s development and with its reputation as a city of modern architecture. Aalto’s architectural sites in Wolfsburg play a key role in the streetscape of this young city founded in 1938, but, above all, they are important collective meeting places for the city’s residents and its various communities.
The Alvar Aalto Week programme brings to the city a colourful array of cultural events, which will raise the profile of Alvar Aalto’s Wolfsburg sites and of Aalto’s life and output more broadly. Conversely, the events offer an inspiring glimpse into Finnish and Nordic culture. The programme includes guided tours, lectures and exhibitions, plus concerts, films, and workshops for children and young people.
The CEO of the Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh is impressed by the comprehensive programme offering of Wolfsburg’s Alvar Aalto Week: “The greater awareness of Aalto’s architecture generated by the Week is also important for the preservation and future of the buildings,” he stresses. Alvar Aalto Week accentuates the importance of high-standard, human-friendly architecture and living environments. The events encourage us to pay attention to familiar elements in our everyday environment and also to the future of the built environment – not forgetting shared encounters and conversations!
Alvar Aalto Week is the annual main event of the international Network of Alvar Aalto Cities. Wolfsburg is chairing the Network in 2022. The city of Wolfsburg and Forum Architektur, together with the numerous event organizers and the Alvar Aalto Foundation, are in charge of the arrangements for Alvar Aalto Week.
City of Wolfsburg / Forum Architektur
Project Manager Esther Orant
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Programme Manager Nina Heikkonen
Photo: Detmerode Church (Stephanus Kirche) and Parish Centre (1963, 1965–68), ceiling, Detmerode, Germany. Photo Maija Holma © Alvar Aalto Foundation.