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6. 6.

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Sunday

Alvar Aalto Week will arrive in Kouvola on 14–22.8.2021, bringing with it an interdisciplinary programme for lovers of architecture, design, visual art, music and dance. Cultural offerings and new experiences are promised for people of all ages, while, between events, you can, for instance, enjoy a delicious Alvar Aalto Week menu or a cake that plays on the official ‘look’ of the Week.

One aim of Alvar Aalto Week is to turn the gaze onto the local built environment and rich industrial heritage, and to bring them to life for city dwellers and those living nearby. Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) designed the paper mill and adjoining residential area, Tehtaanmäki Primary School, and the Karhunkangas district of single-family homes for Inkeroinen, Kouvola, in 1937–56. The history of the locality serves as an inspiration for a diverse range of guided tours and lectures. Besides the traditional tours the programme’s interdisciplinary cultural richness is epitomized by the short film Habitat: Aalto in Motion – directed by David Jakob and produced for the Week – which takes the viewer on a dreamlike journey through the city and shows off the Alvar Aalto-designed built environment, combining dance with architecture.

A unique architectural whole at Tehtaanmäki in Inkeroinen, Kouvola

“It is wonderful that the Alvar Aalto Foundation fosters the continued existence of the heritage of this architect and designer who is so important to Finland, and I am so happy that Kouvola is this year’s chair of the Aalto Cities network. Aalto’s architectural heritage can be seen in Kouvola and in Kymenlaakso more widely,” says Mayor of Kouvola Marita Toikka.

The integrated whole that Alvar Aalto designed for Tehtaanmäki, at Inkeroinen in Kouvola, is made up of factory buildings, the Rantalinja semi-detached houses, Tervalinja terraced houses, three single-family houses (Engineer’s houses), three blocks of flats, Tehtaanmäki Primary School, and the Karhunkangas single-family houses. Right up to today, Tehtaanmäki School has been the only Alvar Aalto-designed school building still in it is original use. Some of the Week’s events will consider new dimensions for the school, which is about to relinquish its original purpose. The issue will be addressed in the international architecture-and-design-education webinar “Building as an Educator” from the viewpoint of an inspiring learning environment and participatory teaching methods, when education professionals also consider the pedagogical aspects of a school building.

Alvar Aalto Week will be formally opened at 13:00–14:00 on Saturday 14.8.2021 in Ankkapurha Culture Park, which is a central location for the entire week of events. Anjala Manor and Makasiini Café will show thrilling exhibitions, while a variety of open-air concerts will be held in the park. The programme will also have something for children, when the Ankkapurha Aalto pop-up event for the whole family invites them to join in an architecture workshop or play a mobile-phone game. The smallest members of the family can also create their own works in the Lasten kuvataidetapahtuma (children’s art event) at Tehtaanmäki School and in the Jäätelötikkutyöpajassa (ice-lolly-stick workshop) at Kouvola House cultural centre.

Some of the events can also be attended virtually. A performance of Tanssia Aallon jäljillä (dancing in Aalto’s footsteps), which interprets Aalto’s architecture, the designer Emery Norton’s The Table with Three Legs lecture performance, and the documentary film Alvar Aalto was here in the Army at Kouvola Garrison give everyone a chance to share in the Week’s cultural offerings remotely. Also being shown during the Week is an English-subtitled film that has gained international popularity: Aalto, directed by Virpi Suutari. After the screening, the director will talk about her work and answer audience questions.

“The network mayors will also be meeting during the week of events in Kouvola. The meeting will discuss common issues affecting the cities, such as Alvar Aalto’s architecture, which is being proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, and the international dimensions of the cultural-route status granted to the Alvar Aalto Route in May 2021 by the Council of Europe,” says Alvar Aalto Foundation CEO Tommi Lindh.

Alvar Aalto Week thus promises a sumptuous cocktail of events. See the full programme (in Finnish) at: www.alvaraalto.fi/alvaraaltoviikko

Kouvola is 2021 Chair of the international Network of Alvar Aalto Cities, and Alvar Aalto Week is the main event in the Network’s collaboration. In charge of arrangements on this occasion is the City of Kouvola, together with the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the numerous event arrangers.

We will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation and official recommendations with regard to events and visitor restrictions, and will react to any directives as required. We hope the public visiting Alvar Aalto Week events will wear face masks at events and follow safe-distancing and hygiene guidelines. The programme is subject to change.

Further information:
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Programme Manager Nina Heikkonen
+358 (0)44 500 1257
nina.heikkonen@alvaraalto.fi

Producer Mira Caselius
+358 (0)40 7766 931
mira.caselius@alvaraalto.fi

City of Kouvola
Communications Manager Anne Anne Käki
+358 (0)40 749 1340
anne.kaki@kouvola.fi

 

Tanssia Aallon jäljillä (dancing in Aalto’s footsteps) performance. Photo © The City of Kouvola.