Alvar Aalto has been one of my favourite architects since I was first introduced to his work as a first year architecture student. I wrote a thesis in my third year on Villa Mairea a masterpiece he designed for the Gullischen Family in Noormarkku, Finland.
Last weekend we escaped the city heat by spending a cool morning in the air-conditioned comfort of the Cité de l’Architecture. The exhibition featured original drawings of Aalto’s work as well as recent photos of the buildings he designed.
I took some bad photos of the drawings.
And this slightly better one of a model of Villa Mairea.
It’s very hard to take an interesting photo of a drawing, somehow the texture of the strokes gets lost and everything looks weak and flat, particularly when the drawings are on tracing paper.
The exhibition was well curated, well lit and not too busy (we went early). Whilst I own several books and journals featuring photos of Aalto’s work, it was especially nice to see some of his original drawings.
As an architecture student I drew all of my 4th and 5th year projects by hand. This was partly because I didn’t want to spend money on an AutoCAD license, but mostly because I really enjoyed drawing. Yes it took ages, and yes it was awful when you made a mistake, but there was real craft to it.