Tafuri, Manfredo, and Francesco Dal Co. “Between Nationalism and Populism.” In Modern Architecture. London: Faber, 1986, 1976.

Tafuri, Manfredo, and Francesco Dal Co. “Between Nationalism and Populism.” In Modern Architecture. London: Faber, 1986, 1976.

The purism of a movement can be sustained by holding onto those ideals and language and at every opportunity create a positive reinforcement of that style. The international style is said to be unyielding in its elements. I will be looking at how Alvar Aalto created a style that sat outside of the convention.

During the war, Aalto was working on low-income modular housing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a research professor when in he went back to Finland to help with the similarly prefabricated houses in 1940.

Alvar Aalto’s architecture was defined by a humanist philosophy more than by a distinct style. “To everything its proper place, a setting dictated by its owns demands, its own aesthetic. And everything should be connected with the community served by the town”. The idea that things are in situ rings strongly in my mind. Everything should have a place. But does this fly in the face of the international style that had been envisioned. Mies van der Rohe was an architect that created a number of great works that we have not seen before the 1920s. Another thing he was doing was that he was creating architecture within the natural environment, but he was not into copying it. He understood that humans, architecture and nature are the three things that went together.


But nothing stays the same. Things evolve and move forward and transpose into different elements and forms. To be flexible in the environment or to let the environment be flexible to the style. Aalto’s major work was seen in “Villa Mairea”, a two-floor L-shaped house set in woods built for Maire and Harry Gullichsen. It combined different materials in a technical way but also provided a humanist appreciation in volume and space.
To paint a style into a corner and say, that is where it lives and stays is not apart of the nature of architecture. Its open to interpretation and influences come from society of the time.



Whyte, I. B. (2004). Modernity and architecture. Tracing Modernity: Manifestations of the Modern in Architecture and the City, 42-55.

Anderson, S. (1987). The fiction of function. Assemblage, (2), 19-31.

Aalto, A. (1928) “The Latest TrendsIn Architecture”, in Göran Schildt Alvar Aalto, In his own words, New York: Rizzoli International Publications.

Constant, C. (1990). The Barcelona Pavilion as landscape garden: Modernity and the picturesque. AA files, (20), 46-54.

Sveiven , Megan. “AD Classics: Villa Mairea / Alvar Aalto” 28 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Apr 2013.