Alvar Aalto Libraries provides thorough overview of Alvar Aalto’s completed libraries as well as the Academic bookstore located in Helsinki, Finland. The comprehensive book begins with an introductory essay dealing with Aalto’s unrealised library projects and also features an article on Aalto’s view on libraries and their architecture in general.

Alvar Aalto Libraries presents all nineteen of Alvar Aalto’s completed libraries as well as the Academic Bookstore in Helsinki. Chronologically, the completed buildings range from Viipuri Library in the 1930s to Alajärvi Library in the 1990s, which was built after Aalto’s death. Aalto’s libraries have served various needs, for instance, as part of larger administrative, institutional or cultural centres. A significant group is the public libraries, such as those in Seinäjoki, Rovaniemi and Wolfsburg. Another significant group, which includes the libraries at the University of Jyväskylä, Aalto University and the Mount Angel monastery, are his scholarly libraries. The libraries in Aalto-designed private houses, such as Villa Mairea and Maison Louis Carré, offered their owners a tranquil work environment. In addition to describing how the buildings first came about, the book also describes the changes in use that the libraries have undergone over the decades.

Jari Jetsonen’s colour photos – most of them taken especially for this book – and Aalto’s original drawings, reveal the dramatic, yet intimate, atmosphere of each library. Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen’s presentations for each of the libraries and her short description of Aalto’s “library landscapes” is complemented by Teija Isohauta’s essay on Aalto’s unrealised library projects. The foreword to the book has been written by distinguished British architecture historian Professor Kenneth Frampton.

Alvar Aalto Libraries




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Jari Jetsonen, Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen