fundamentals | alvar aalto, the natural modernist
years ago, during a history & theory of architecture seminar, in which ten or so students were being herded around the spiky topic of modernism and the international style, a contemporaneous student with a much healthier grasp of the subject than i offered an insight that even today remains insightful. to me at least. he tabled the very simple suggestion that, amongst the greats; le corbusier, mies van der rohe, frank lloyd wright, walter gropius, it is only the work of aalto which you can reasonably imagine as an extension to a semi-d or terraced house. it is not strictly a compliment but neither is it a criticism and it is arguable that aalto's organic, natural forms and material choices have remained more relevant and less prone to trend than most of his contemporaries. this measured approach, the balance of familiar smells and textures with precise geometry and light which makes aalto's take on the international style so adaptable, timeless and cosy. a diplomatic handshake between the traditional and modern.