Alvar Aalto: Timeline
The following chronological listing gives key events in Alvar Aalto's life, his major architectural works (all appear in the exhibition), and important political events that affected the architect's life and work. Architectural works are given in italics.

1898
February 3: Born Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto to Johan Henrik Aalto and Selma Hackstedt in Kuortane, Finland.

Alvar Aalto. Heinonen, c. 1935. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

1917
Finland becomes an independent nation.

Park Café Project. 1917.
Elevation and ground floor-plan. Aalvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

1918
Finnish Civil War

1921
Receives diploma in architecture from the Helsinki University of Technology. As a student, works in architect Armas Lindgren's atelier. Travels to Sweden.

1923
Opens the Alvar Aalto Office for Architecture and Monumental Art in Jyväskylä, Finland.

House and Sauna for Terho Manner, Töysä, Finland.

1924
Marries architect Aino Marsio (b. 1894).

Aino and Alvar Aalto.
1947. Photo: Herbert Matter. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

Travels to Europe on honeymoon. First trip to Italy.

Jyväskylä Workers' Club. Jyväskylä, Finland, 1924-25. main photo: Entrance to theater. Photo: M. Kapanen. Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä inset: East Elevation. Drawing. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

Seinäjoki Defense Corps Building, Seinäjoki, Finland (1924-29).

Furnishings for Hämäläis-Osakunta Students' Club, Helsinki.

Furnishings for Seurahuone Café, Jyväskylä, Finland.

1925
August 1: Daughter, Johanna Flora Maria Annunziata, born.

Funeral Chapel, Jyväskylä, Finland. Project (1925 and 1930).

Atrium House for Väinö Aalto, Alajärvi, Finland. Project.

Jämsä Church, Jämsä, Finland. Project.

1926
Sees Erik Gunnar Asplund's Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm, and nearly completed Stockholm Public Library.

Meets Swedish architect Sven Markelius in Stockholm.

Muurame Church, Muurame, Finland (1926-29).

League of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. Project (1926-27).

1927
Moves office to Turku, Finland.

Viipuri City Library.
Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia), 1927-35. Auditorium. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

1928
January 8: Son, Johan Henrik Hamilkar Alvar, born.

Travels to France, the Netherlands, and Denmark to see modern architecture and design by Le Corbusier, André Lurcat, J. J. P. Oud, Wilhelm Dudok, Poul Henningsen and others.

Turun Sanomat Building. Turku, Finland, 1928-30. Display-window and entrance perspective. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

"Merry-Go-Round"
Summer Cottage, Aitta magazine competition.


1929
Attends the 2nd Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in Frankfurt, Germany--the theme is "Die Wohnung für das Existenzminimum" (Housing for Low-income Earners.) Meets artist László Moholy-Nagy and architects Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Karl Moser, as well as the architectural historian Sigfried Giedion.

Works on developing standard designs for buildings that will be completed in the next several years.

Alvar Aalto and Erik Bryggman: Turku 700th Anniversary Exhibition and Trade Fair. Turku, Finland, 1929. Kiosk with advertising pillars (demolished). Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Paimio, Finland. 1929-33. Aerial view. Photo: Suomen Ilmakuva Oy, Helsinki inset: Paimio Chair, Model 41. 1931-32. The Museum of Modern Art

Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Stairway. Photo: © Simo Rista

Columbus Memorial Light House, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Project.


Participates in exhibition, Rationalization of the Minimum Dwelling, at Helsinki Art Hall.

Travels to Brussels for the 3rd CIAM conference and a presentation of modern design from Finland.

Travels to Germany and Switzerland. Meets architects Gerrit Rietveld, Hugo Häring, Ernst May, Richard Neutra, Mart Stam, Hans Schmidt, and art patron Hélène de Mandrot, among others.

Toppila Pulp Mill, Oulu, Finland (1930-33).

1932
The Turun Sanomat Building of 1928-30 is included in The Museum of Modern Art's first architecture show, Modern Architecture-International Exhibition, organized by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock.

1933
Moves office to Helsinki.

Attends the 4th CIAM conference in Athens.

Exhibition of his furniture at the London department store, Fortnum & Mason, organized with the architectural critic Philip Morton Shand.

Shand and G. M. Boumphrey establish FINMAR, a company dedicated to importing and selling Aalto-designed furniture in England.

1934
Founder and chairman of Projektio, Finland's first film society.

1935
Meets Maire Gullichsen, wife of Industrialist Harry Gullichsen, through his associate, Nils-Gustav Hahl. With Marie Gullichsen, Hahl, and his wife Aino, the Artek company is established to produce and distribute Aalto's furniture and glassware.

House and Studio for Aino and Alvar Aalto, Munkkiniemi, Helsinki (1935-36).

1936
Sunila Pulp Mill and Housing, Kotka, Finland (1936-38).

Karhula-Iittala Glass Design Competition. 1936. Competition drawing: vase designs. Iittala Glass Museum, Iittala, Finland.

Vases. 1936. A. Ahlström Corporation. Photo: Rauno Träskelin © 1997

Finnish Pavilion, Paris International Exhibition, Paris (1936-37).

1937
Travels to Paris during the summer where he meets artists Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Constantin Brancusi, and art historian Christian Zervos.

Standard Terrace Housing. Kauttua, Finland, 1937-38. Drawing. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

A-House Standard Houses (begun 1937).

1938
Exhibition, Alvar Aalto: Architecture and Furniture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition catalogue is the first book on Aalto.

First trip to the United States.

Villa Mairea, House for Maire and Harry Gullichsen.
Noormarkku, Finland, 1938-39. main photo: Stairway. inset: View from South. Photo: Rauno Träskelin © 1997. Villa Mairea Foundation.

Finnish Pavilion, New York World's Fair. Queens, New York, 1938-39. Interior (demolished). Photo: Ezra Stoller © Esto

1939
Second trip to the United States. Supervises the building of the Finnish Pavilion at the New York World's Fair.

While in the United States, meets architects Marcel Breuer, Wallace K. Harrison, Joseph Hudnut, and Edward D. Stone, among others.

Visits Moholy-Nagy's New Bauhaus school in Chicago, then travels to California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Winter War (November 1939-March 1940), between Finland and the Soviet Union. Finland loses large areas of southeast Finland, including most of Karelia.

1940
Visits Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. at Fallingwater, Edgar J. Kaufmann House, Mill Run, Pennsylvania, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Appointed Research Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. This arrangement lasts briefly; he returns to Finland due to war.

1941
The Continuation War (1941-44). Finland regains and again loses to Russia its pre-1940 territories.

AA-Standard Summer Cottages. Project.

1942
Collaborates with Albin Stark on projects in Sweden (1942-1945).

1943
Elected Chairman of Finnish Association of Architects (1943-58).

Standardization Institute established in Finland.

1944
Lapland War (1944-45) German troops evacuate Finland.

Avesta Civic Center, Avesta, Sweden. Project (with Albin Stark).

1946
Visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1946-48).

Visits Frank Lloyd Wright in Milwaukee and travels with him to his home, Taliesin, in Spring Green Wisconsin.

Baker House. Senior Dormitory for Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1946-49. River facade. Photo: Steve Rosenthal © 1997

1947
Imatra Master Plan, Imatra, Finland (1947-53).

1948
Travels to Rome with his wife, Aino. Visit numerous classical ruins.

National Pensions Institute, Helsinki (1948-57).

Säynätsalo Town Hall. Säynätsalo, Finland, 1948-52. View from east. Photo: Simo Rista

1949
January 13: Aino Aalto dies after a long illness.

Helsinki University of Technology. Espoo (Otaniemi). Competition. 1949; executed 1953-66. Main building. Photo: Simo Rista

1950
Exhibitions on Alvar and Aino's architecture, in conjunction with a comprehensive exhibition of Finnish painting and sculpture, at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

1951
Central Cemetery and Funeral Chapel, Lyngby-Taarbaek, Denmark. Project (1951-52) (with Jean-Jacques Baruël).

1952
Marries architect Elissa Mäkiniemi (Elsa Kaisa Mäkiniemi, 1922-1994)

Alvar and Elissa Aalto in their studio. Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, c. 1960. Photo: Heikki Havas. Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki

Experimental House and Sauna for Elissa and Alvar Aalto. Muuratsalo, Finland, 1952-53. main photo: Courtyard wall detail. inset: View from Southwest. Photo: Rauno Träskelin © 1997

House of Culture. Helsinki, 1952-58. Exterior detail. Photo: Rauno Träskelin © 1997

Sports, Congress, and Concert Complex, Vogelweidplatz, Vienna. Project (1952-53).

1954
Apartment Building, Interbau Exhibitioon, Hansaviertel, Berlin (1954-57).

Master Plan for Industrial Community, Summa, Finland.


1955
Elected an Academician of the Academy of Finland (one of twelve members).

Church of the Three Crosses Vuoksenniska. Imatra, Finland, 1955-58. main photo: Interior detail. inset: View from the Southwest. Photo: Rauno Träskelin © 1997

1956
Maison Carré, House for Louis Carré, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, France (1956-59).

1957
Awarded a Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London.

1958
Cultural Center, Wolfsburg, Germany (1958-62).

Apartment Building, Neue Vahr, Bremen, Germany (1958-62).


City Hall. Kiruna, Sweden, 1958. Project. Plan and elevation sketches. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

Civic Center. Seinäjoki, Finland, 1958-87. City Hall. Photo: Kalevi A. Mäkinen

1959
Helsinki Center Plan, Helsinki (Begun 1959).

Opera House. Essen, Germany. Competition 1959, completed by Harald Deilmann with Elissa Aalto, 1981-88. Theater. Photo: Angela Otto and Friedrich Ostermann/OzOn © 1988

1962
Awarded Sonning Prize in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Finlandia Hall. Helsinki, 1962-71. Main concert hall. Photo: Rauno Träskelin © 1997

1963
Awarded Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects.

Elected President of the Academy of Finland (1963-68).

1964
Mount Angel Abbey Library. St. Benedict, Oregon, 1964-70. main photo: Reading room. inset: View from Northwest. Photo: Strode Eckert Photographics

Mount Angel Abbey Library, St. Benedict, Oregon, 1964-70. Reading Room Skylight. Photo: Strode Eckert Photographics

1965
Retrospective exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

1969
Elected a member of the order of Pour le Mérite (the highest cultural accolade awarded in Germany).

Iran Museum of Modern Art. Shiraz, Iran. Project. 1969-70. Perspective sketch. Alvar Aalto Foundation, Helsinki

1972
Awarded Gold Medal by the French Academy of Architecture.

1976
May 11: Dies in Helsinki.