Alvar Aalto Week 2021
14.8.2021 - 22.8.2021
In 2021, the Alvar Aalto Week will take place in Kouvola from August 14 to 22, celebrating the rich industrial heritage of the locality.
Alvar Aalto Week “Kouvola – Yhtä Aaltoa” on August 14–22, 2021, met expectations as to the quality and diversity of its events. The culture-packed programme comprised about forty events involving architecture, design, the built environment, art and dance. The events lasting just over a week drew visitors to various parts of Kouvola on the banks of the Kymijoki River.
“Aalto fascinates and inspires people, and the opportunity offered by Alvar Aalto Week to arrange a variety of cultural events sparked a lot of creativity both locally and more broadly. The events met with an enthusiastic response. Many of them were directly linked to Aalto, and centre stage was taken in its own right by his local architectural heritage,” says the Week’s Producer Mira Caselius of the Alvar Aalto Foundation.
The Week was officially opened amid rain showers in the historical Ankkapurha Culture Park. The buildings designed by Alvar Aalto in Inkeroinen inspired several of the events. This fifth Alvar Aalto Week offered a wide spectrum, including guided tours, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, concerts, films and interdisciplinary performances. “Taking the spotlight, for instance, were the various walking tours, which drew architecture lovers to discover the area’s built tradition and the fascinating stories behind the buildings. The exhibitions also attracted a good-sized audience,” says the City of Kouvola’s Communications Manager Anne Käki. The delights of the programme could also be enjoyed virtually in live-streamed or recorded events on the City of Kouvola’s YouTube channel.
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 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 considered new dimensions for the school, which is about to relinquish its original purpose.
Also during Alvar Aalto Week, the mayors of the Alvar Aalto Cities network met to discuss issues such as the proposal to add Alvar Aalto’s architectural sites to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Tentative List and the approval in spring 2021 of the Alvar Aalto Route as one of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.
In honour of the week of events the City of Kouvola produced a video about the Aalto sites in Kouvola and a video Alvar Aalto was here in the army (in Finnish). The South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences and Smart Cultural Villages project has produced a video called Aalto’s Tehtaanmäki School – a Cultural Heritage Building in Transition.
Alvar Aalto Week visits the Alvar Aalto City in turn, with each year’s network chair city hosting the week of events. In 2022, Alvar Aalto Week will take place in August/September in Wolfsburg, Germany, the location of the Alvar Aalto-designed Wolfsburg Cultural Centre (1958–62), Wolfsburg Church (Heilig-Geist Kirche) and Parish Centre (1959-62), and Detmerode Church (Stephanuskirche) and Parish Centre (1963, 1965-68).
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Programme Manager Nina Heikkonen
+358 (0)44 500 1257
Producer Mira Caselius
+358 (0)40 7766 931
City of Kouvola
Communications Manager Anne Käki
+358 (0)40 749 1340
Tehtaanmäki School (1938–39), designed by Alvar Aalto. Photo Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation.