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“The mind must be allowed to be playful in all forms of creative endeavour. If this exhibition has a message, it’s this: celebrate the joy of drawing! It also underlines that people, animals, landscapes and architecture are all inseparably intertwined.” Eric Adlercreutz


The Alvar Aalto Museum’s autumn exhibition brings the public face to face with seven decades of sketches and drawings by the architect Eric Adlercreutz (b. 1935). It tells us about his work as an architect and his passion for drawing.

Ever since his first trip to Italy, Adlercreutz has been filling sketch pads with street views and landscapes in Europe – especially the Mediterranean region – and elsewhere. The architettura minore style of buildings in Italy’s small towns has inspired generations of architects and architecture students throughout the decades, and journeys to the roots of European architecture have been an integral part of their studies. Adlercreutz is fascinated by the human-centred, multi-layered character of Italy’s urban culture: “The built landscape has come about organically and in its authenticity it bears the marks of centuries of living,” he says. His six years working at Alvar Aalto architect’s office reinforced the enthusiasm this skilled wielder of pen and pencil felt for Italian architecture, an enthusiasm he still feels today.

For Adlercreutz drawing means thinking – a collaboration between brain and hand, and a multifaceted way of contemplating things seen and experienced. “The pen is an incomparable tool for thought, which allows an exploration of its subject, especially in the initial phase of design work,” Eric Adlercreutz says. The drawings in the exhibition allow us to study the architect’s working process, as the drawer’s pen seeks ways of enacting the dialogue between a building and its surroundings. A freehand sketch develops through multiple stages into a meticulously refined architectural drawing. The exhibition pays homage to and presents the case for the hand-drawn image in this era of technology-aided drawings.

In addition, the works chosen for the exhibition include delicate, yet powerfully expressive drawings of animals and human portraits, the earliest being from the 1950s. Adlercreutz has created abstract acrylic paintings and coloured-pencil drawings of architecture as a spatial experience. They offer us a viewpoint onto the architect’s creative play with line, form and colour, and a window into the meaning of freeform practice and the joy of drawing.

Eric Adlercreutz is particularly glad that his drawings are now being shown specifically in the Museum that bears Aalto’s name in Jyväskylä. Years working in Alvar Aalto’s architect’s office taught him the essentials, for instance, of the principles of design, human-centred architecture and how at its best a new building complements old, existing building stock.

The exhibition has been curated by Juha-Heikki Tihinen, PhD, and designed by Eric Adlercreutz. It was first shown at Galleria Elverket in Tammisaari in autumn 2018. The exhibition now on display has been mounted in a collaboration between Pro Artibus Foundation and the Alvar Aalto Museum.

More information:
Curator Mari Murtoniemi
Alvar Aalto Museum
Tel. +358 400 688 458

Curator Juha-Heikki Tihinen
Pro Artibus Foundation
Tel. +358 40 355 9162


Sketches and drawings from 1950 – 2018

Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery, September 27, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Alvar Aallon katu 7, 40600 Jyväskylä
+358 40 135 6210
open 11-18, Tues-Sun

Lucca Piazza dell amfiteatro. Drawing Eric Adlercreutz.

Il Duomo di Lucca. Drawing Eric Adlercreutz.

Drawing Eric Adlercreutz.

Architect Eric Adlercreutz. Photo Anders Adlercreutz.

Additional building of the Parliament House, Helsinki. Competition 1999. Drawing Eric Adlercreutz.

Kamppi-Töölönlahti, Helsinki. Idea competition 1986. Drawing Eric Adlercreutz.

Kamppi-Töölönlahti area, Helsinki. Idea competition 1986. Drawing Eric Adlercreutz.

Acrylic painting, Eric Adlercreutz.