Skip to main content


In 2018, it will be 120 years since the birth of Alvar Aalto. In honour of the occasion the Alvar Aalto Foundation will be putting on a representative array of architecture and design exhibitions and events. Take a look at our programme and come and join us in experiencing Alvar Aalto 120! 


The Florence of the North – Alvar Aalto’s architecture in Jyväskylä
until March 4, 2018 This exhibition of works from the Alvar Aalto Museum’s drawing and photograph collections represents a cross-section of Aalto’s designs made for his former home city of Jyväskylä. It was here that Aalto took the first steps of his career as an architect, designing dozens of buildings and other projects for the city from the 1920s to the 1970s. Current information indicates that there are around 80 of such sites, some built and some that never left the drawing board. The exhibition also opens a window onto some ‘lost Jyväskylä and lesser-known Aalto’, and reveals why Central Finland reminded the architect of Tuscany in Italy.

The extraordinarily ordinary. The modern building heritage in Central Finland
March 16 – May 20, 2018

The exhibition creates an overview of Central Finland’s modern building heritage from the post-war period up to the present day, from the 1940s to the 2000s. On display are the first high-rise apartment blocks in village centres, standardized houses surrounded by leafy landscapes, co-educational schools of the new era, parish centres and shopping malls, which use the language of architecture to speak of the development of the Finnish welfare state. Architects who have left their mark on the building stock in the towns and municipalities of Central Finland include: Helge Railo, Mikko Lintula, Alvar Aalto, Erkki Kantonen, Pekka Saarema, Olavi Noronen and Kaj Michael. The exhibition makes use of material gathered during the Museum of Central Finland’s inventory of the modern building heritage made in 2012–2014.

Photo Hanna Tyvelä, Museum of Central Finland.

Alvar Aalto as a Housing Designer
June 1 – September 16, 2018
The architect Alvar Aalto’s wide-ranging, multifaceted output also included designs for apartments. The exhibition brings to light early classical wooden villas of the 1920s, streamlined functionalist dwellings of the 1930s, along with standardized houses of the post-war period of reconstruction, and also the unique artist’s homes of later decades. In addition to homes built for his own family, friends and relatives, Aalto designed residential districts for various parts of Finland, typified by row houses, semi-detached dwellings and low-rise blocks of flats adapted to the local landscape and conditions. Also on display will be advanced solutions for modern-living, furniture and interiors by the architect couple Aino and Alvar Aalto, which attracted considerable attention in Finnish and international exhibitions and publications in the 1930s and 40s. The exhibition is linked to the theme of the International Alvar Aalto Symposium: “New Housing Solutions for Cities in Change“ to be held in Jyväskylä, Finland, August 30 – September 2, 2018.

Photo Martti Kapanen © Alvar Aalto Foundation.


LINE, SPACE AND COLOUR. Constructions by Sakari Laitinen
September 27 – November 4, 2018
The exhibition of visual art by the architect Sakari Laitinen (1937-2015) is a celebration of colour and form. Laitinen, who had also worked in Alvar Aalto’s architect’s office in the early years of his career, was gifted at drawing, and practised art in parallel with architecture from his student years onwards. He influenced the field of architecture in diverse ways and, after retiring from architectural work in 1997, devoted himself wholly to art. Sakari Laitinen’s works, which have also been shown in international exhibitions, adopt an architectonic approach – his collage-like artworks combine spatial composition with experimental play with colours, forms and materials. The exhibition is being produced by the Museum of Finnish Architecture and curated by Juhani Pallasmaa, Sara Nuortie and Mikael Merenmies.

Sakari Laitinen: Spirit of the Lamp. Guassi.


Alvar Aalto Medal
November 15, 2018 – January 20, 2019
The exhibition gives centre stage to the winners of the international architecture prize bearing Alvar Aalto’s name, and presents the medallists from 1967 up to today. The works of the medallists represent a comprehensive cross-section of the developments and stylistic trends in architecture over the past half century. The award has been given to accomplished architects which have followed uncompromising careers, but also to some who have recently gained prominence on the international scene and have carried forward Aalto’s legacy of sustainable, humane design. Over the past 50 years, the Alvar Aalto Medal has been awarded to virtuoso architects from ten countries. The jubilee exhibition is being produced in collaboration between the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.

Sketch for the Alvar Aalto Medal, Original Alvar Aalto Museum´s Drawing Archive.



Souvenirs from Italy – Mediterranean influences in Alvar Aalto’s Rautatalo Office Building
Rautatalo, Helsinki
This small exhibition produced by the Alvar Aalto Foundation presents the architecture of the Rautatalo building completed on Helsinki’s Keskuskatu Street in 1955. It also illuminates Alvar Aalto’s more private side, such as his family life and numerous journeys to the Mediterranean. From his travels Aalto brought back influences on his architecture, which are evident in the open, piazza-like Marmoripiha Courtyard framed by the Rautatalo’s office spaces and its interior walls clad in Carrara marble and travertine. In Aalto’s designs this Italian-style piazza was to be open to city dwellers, a space filled with the hum of conversation and people meeting that gets natural light from skylights. The exhibition in the Marmoripiha Courtyard consists of pictorial material from Aalto’s trips, with printed information in Finnish, Swedish and English. The exhibition is open on weekdays 9-16, and at weekends to match the opening hours of the Dylan Marmoripiha restaurant on the site.

 Photo Maija Holma © Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Alvar Aalto. Architecte et designer
March 9 – July 1, 2018
Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Paris, France
The international touring exhibition offers a broad general overview and a new perspective on the life and work in architecture and design of Alvar Aalto, who was known as a cosmopolitan. It brings out the factors underlying Aalto’s design work and reflects the development of his production in close interaction with his visual-artist contemporaries, such as Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder and Fernand Léger. The architect’s buildings inspired by art and nature skilfully combine different building masses and materials, the choreography of natural light and electric light, and the human scale of the spaces. The sites chosen for the exhibition represent the best of Aalto’s prolific career and will display scale models, original architectural drawings, furniture, light fittings and glass designs, including some from the collection of the Alvar Aalto Museum. The exhibition is being produced in co-operation with the Vitra Design Museum, Alvar Aalto Foundation and Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine.



14th International Alvar Aalto Symposium – New Housing Solutions for Cities in Change
August 30 – 31, 2018, Jyväskylä
The Alvar Aalto Symposium is an international seminar on architecture held every three years, and is intended to spark discussion about the artistic, social and technical challenges of current architecture, and about new innovations. In 2018, the seminar’s main theme is “New Housing Solutions for Cities in Change”. This theme will be explored, for example, from the following perspectives: (Multi)cultural variables, shared spaces, participation, flexibility, digitalization, and new urban structures and types of dense housing. The event includes a seminar programme that spans research, construction in practice, and residential issues in general, along with public events open to everyone. The event is organized by the Alvar Aalto Academy / Alvar Aalto Foundation in co-operation with the City of Jyväskylä.

Alvar Aalto Week
August 27 – September 2, 2018, Jyväskylä
Alvar Aalto Week is a wide-ranging, interactive event, now being staged for the second time, which focuses on architecture and provides a venue where professionals from different disciplines and the public can meet. The Week’s main theme will also be reflected in the Alvar Aalto Symposium being held at the same time in the city, and which will explore current topics in the built environment. The event’s multifaceted programme will, for instance, include guided tours on various themes, lectures and workshops in an inter-art and inter-science spirit. Open House Jyväskylä 2018, which coincides with Alvar Aalto Week, will open the doors of architectural sites that are normally closed to the public. This wide array of events is being put on by the Alvar Aalto Academy / Alvar Aalto Foundation in co-operation with the City of Jyväskylä.


Alvar Aalto Museum. Photo Maija Holma @ Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Subject to changes without notice.

More information:
Mirkka Vidgren, Communications