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The mayors of Finland’s Alvar Aalto Cities met in Seinäjoki on February 1–2, 2018. The Network of Alvar Aalto Cities, founded in Jyväskylä a year ago on Alvar Aalto’s birthday February 3, 2017, now includes 16 cities in different parts of Finland.

“The network has got going in a gratifyingly active manner,” says Director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh. “Among the most important tasks of the newly launched network is to work towards Alvar Aalto’s buildings being preserved in the best possible way for future generations. Aalto’s production is the foundation and unifying factor on which the collaboration is being built.” During the past year, network meetings have been held between experts on the built heritage, architectural tourism and communications. The network and its member cities have adopted their own logo and begun collaboration on the nationwide Alvar Aalto Route project.

For the past year, the network has been chaired by Jyväskylä. The chair has now been handed on to the convener of the event, the city of Seinäjoki. “For Seinäjoki the Network of Alvar Aalto Cities is an important partner network,” says the Mayor of Seinäjoki Jorma Rasinmäki “The city spent several decades building a unique, Alvar Aalto-designed administrative centre, and the Civil Guard House completed in 1926, which now houses the Civil Guard and Lotta Svärd Museum. South Ostrobothnia also has more of Alvar Aalto’s output, ranging from 1920s buildings to Alajärvi’s Town Hall, Town Library and Congregation House completed in the 1960s. And Alvar Aalto’s birthplace is in Kuortane.” Rasinmäki hopes that “During the city’s period as chair, collaboration between Seinäjoki and the other Alvar Aalto Cities can be made even closer and deeper, for instance, on tourism marketing and the built heritage.”

The annual mayors’ meeting in Seinäjoki decided that cities abroad with Alvar Aalto architecture sites that are classed as significant are to be invited to join the network. Potential Aalto Cities include Aalborg (Denmark), Avesta and Uppsala (Sweden), Bazoches-sur-Guyonne (France), Beirut (Lebanon), Berlin, Bremen, Essen and Wolfsburg (Germany), Cambridge and St. Benedict (USA), Lucerne (Switzerland), Reykjavik (Iceland), Riola di Vergato and Venice (Italy), Tartu (Estonia) and Vyborg (Russia). The occasion also included a convivial discussion of the work done in 2017 and of the current situation in Alvar Aalto Cities, and it was noted that the time is now right for extending the network.

It is natural for the network to have an international dimension, since several of Aalto’s designs for notable sites abroad were built during the 1930s–70s. “Close nationwide – and soon international – collaboration can have an impact on how Aalto’s buildings are treated, protected and repaired in the future,” Tommi Lindh observes. “The extension of our operations abroad shows that Alvar Aalto’s production has its own place in the international arena of modern architecture.”

The next annual meeting of Mayors of Alvar Aalto Cities will be in Turku on January 31–February 1, 2019.

For more information:
Director Tommi Lindh
Alvar Aalto Foundation
+358 44 562 1625
tommi.lindh@alvaraalto.fi