“I like to use material that doesn’t need to much upkeep since the economy of a building depends on this in the long run. But the question may also have a humanist dimension in that the social function of a building is relevant to the choice of materials. There is a relation between people and building material can’t be pinpointed by any amount of theorizing. I designed the first buildings here with copper facing, and later also facades of cast bronze. The durability approaches eternity; they need no maintenance at all. The saving in human work are naturally something to be reckoned with, but the main emphasis is on another plane. a building must not have a negative effect on everyday work of its users…” Alvar Aalto
Alvar Aalto was Finnish architect, city planner, and furniture designer whose international character rests on a unique combination of modernist refinement, natural materials, and personal expression in form and detail. Aalto forged an organic design vocabulary that juxtaposed concrete and wood, copper and brick, volume and form in an original synthesis. In his every design, he worked on material and its combination on landscape and material.
The significant example on Aalto and material is the Experimental House. The house was meant as a site of experimentation where he could test different architectural elements, construction technics and above all various building materials from both the aesthetic and practical stands out. Its inner courtyard walls (he called experimental walls), clad with various types brick and ceramic tiles, exhibit the great delight he took in random, playful and tactile qualities. The walls reflect the very nature of the experimental home, as there are more than fifty different types of bricks which are arranged in various patterns. This allowed Aalto to test the aesthetics of different arrangements while also observing how they reacted in the rough climate. This house is just one of his the best works, for understanding Aalto material approach other buildings should be investigated also his influence,
Henry van de Velde was one of the designers whom Aalto Aalto held in particularly highly appreciation. According to van de Velde, “No material is beautiful on its own […]. Wood, metal, stone and precious stone owe their particular beauty to the life shaped by working process, the traces of the tool, the various ways, in which the inspired passion or sensibility of the artist who works with these tools expresses itself” from his writings Animation of Material as a Principle Beauty, this quotation is basic for Aalto’s ideas on material. A material identity must be recognized by the architect and articulated in his works, Aalto stated that art as a process in which materials assume their nature.
Aalto also affected from Semper’s theory that explains the transformation of material. Therefore, Aalto followed up the form of Ionic capital back to the flexible form of wood and the way its fiber unravel and curve under a load.
When Aalto was a student in Finland, the National Romanticism was dominated by architecture. National Romanticism gets popular with the success of Eliel Saarinen, Herman Geselius, and Armas Lingren The Finnish Pavillion at 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Aalto studied under the Lingren so he strong influence from them. In the national romanticism use of material cladding to articulate the composition of various dimensional structural volumes. Especially brick and timber dominated material in National Romanticism, Aalto generally used this material with different ways. Aalto held in high esteem, exhibits an especially original relationship to history, not through citation of form but with the virtuosic treatment of materials, especially brick.
Aalto emphasized the multi materiality of architecture as the result of industrial building methods. Insulation and sound proofing materials take on greater significance along with manufactured elements such as doors, windows, and surfaces, he had no particular preference for a certain material, he employed various material ‘because the nature of project demanded. You should not be monomaniacs on this point; you must let your hands be tied by theory. His this idea result is Villa Maire perhaps the most impressive demonstration of resulting from his masterly combination of natural and industrially processed material.
Villa Maire surprises and confounds with its abundance of images and meanings, its delight in telling a tale expressed in episodes full of surprising twists and turns. Each door handle is different, whether in bronze, rattan or covered with leather. Aalto recorded the various material in a table, regarding the floor coverings and the wall and ceiling surfaces for all the different rooms, down to the various woods for the skirting boards.
- Eisenbrand, J., & Kries, M. (2014). Alvar Aalto Second Nature. Weil am Rhein: Vitra Design
- Schildt, Göran. Alvar Aalto in his own words. New York: Rizzoli, 1998. Museum