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The spring exhibition at the Alvar Aalto Museum, Città dei morti – City of the dead, presents unrealised designs for cemeteries and funeral chapels by Alvar Aalto. Through his designs for Jyväskylä, Lyngby-Taarbaek and Malmi, something of a lesser-known Aalto is exposed to the viewer. The exhibition will be open to the public in the Gallery at the Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä from 20.3 to 17.5.2015.


”You can see Aalto’s touch in almost forty designs of his for sacred buildings. This is the first time that any of his unrealised designs for funeral chapels and cemeteries have gone on show to a wider public. One of the inspirations for the exhibition was Sofia Singler´s B.Arch dissertation Enquiry and Equilibrium: Alvar Aalto´s Unrealised Funerary Architecture”, says Tommi Lindh, director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Alvar Aalto’s religious architecture is approached in the exhibition by means of three fascinating schemes. The designs for the Jyväskylä funeral chapel, carried out at different times, show Aalto’s style metamorphosing from an abundance of ornament towards Modernism. These funeral chapel designs represent early Aalto, from the mid 1920s well into the 1930s.

Also in the exhibition are the cemetery and funeral chapel design for Lyngby-Taarbaek in Denmark, drawn in 1951, and the Malmi cemetery and funeral chapel design which contains references in the drawings to Golgotha and has points of contact with Vuoksenniska Church.

The exhibition design respects the economy of expression present in Aalto’s designs. The variation of light and shade in Maija Holma’s atmospheric photographs and the drawings taken from the Alvar Aalto Museum archives, coupled with the text and the Lyngby-Taarbaek model, together create a fascinating whole.

”In the exhibition, the viewer is transported by the elements of silence and prayer. The same factors are present in Aalto’s funeral chapel designs, where the visitor is gently guided from one space to another,” explains Mari Murtoniemi, curator of the Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Città dei morti – City of the dead
In the Gallery at the Alvar Aalto Museum
Alvar Aallon katu 7, 40600 Jyväskylä
open Tue–Sun 11-18
tel +358 (0)14 266 7113


Further information:
Curator Mari Murtoniemi, tel. +358 40 355 9162, mari.murtoniemi(a)

Press photos: