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The Alvar Aalto Foundation’s 2019 keynote event views the architect’s work from an international architectural heritage perspective.


On 9-10 October, 2019 the international seminar “HUMANISTIC MODERNISM” – Works by Alvar Aalto in the World Heritage Context, will be held at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. Discussions will centre on whether Alvar Aalto’s architecture could be included on UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Alvar Aalto Foundation has decided to seek the inclusion of Alvar Aalto’s architecture on the Tentative List of sites under consideration for the UNESCO World Heritage List. The autumn seminar is part of this preparatory work. The seminar, the Alvar Aalto Foundation’s main event of the year, will bring together experts from Finland and around the world.

The event will concentrate on UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the viewpoint of modern architecture. So far the UNESCO World Heritage List includes two bodies of international modern architectural work: the buildings of Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier and the American Frank Lloyd Wright. The role of Finnish modernism in the development of the international 20th century architecture could be highlighted in a natural way by a number of buildings designed by Alvar Aalto and his office.

“Alvar Aalto is considered to be one of the world’s four most important modern architects. His buildings are total works of art, including their interior details and furnishings,” says Heli Leinonkoski, President of the Board of Directors of the Alvar Aalto Foundation. “The sites designed by Aalto’s architectural office represent the universal cultural heritage of modern architecture, which is precisely what World Heritage status is intended to cherish and preserve for future generations,” she emphasises.

The seminar promotes the implementation of the National World Heritage Strategy and provides publicity for both Finnish modern architecture and the UNESCO World Heritage.

At the same time, it is possible to share valuable practical experiences from other successful World Heritage nominations and their representatives. The event is being arranged by the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Lahti in partnership with Docomomo (Committee for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement) and Icomos (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

There is no participation fee for the seminar but advance registration is required until August 31, 2019. The seminar’s programme is available here.

The program includes Studia Generalia lecture, which is ”The Outstanding Universal Value in the works by Alvar Aalto” by architect Juhani Pallasmaa, on Wednesday 9 October at 18.00 ̶ 18.45.

Further information:
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Architect Jonas Malmberg
Tel. +358 (0)40 567 5600