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“Our buildings should not merely meet one or two aesthetic norms; they should be placed in the landscape in a natural way, in harmony with its general contours.” Alvar Aalto 1925

The Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) approached the landscape from the perspective of topography, always taking the specific character of the site as his starting point. He designed the areas surrounding his buildings as extensions of their interiors.

The exhibitions at Safavi Museum & Aknoon  Galleries, Isfahan, and Khane Honar, Shiraz, focus on themes such as orientation and contours, nature and the use of the bedrock, vegetation and water features, as well as on Aalto’s way of dealing with enclosed gardens and terraces. In 1969–70, after his visit in Iran, Aalto designed a new Art Museum for Shiraz on top of a small hill set in a green plain at the foot of the Zagros mountains north of the city. The exhibitions build a bridge between the main aspects of Aalto’s landscape thinking and the design for the unrealized Shiraz Art Museum. It includes some 40 archive photographs from the Alvar Aalto Foundation’s collections. The curator of the exhibition is the art historian Ms. Teija Isohauta.

“Aalto accentuated the naturalness of the surrounding landscape and vegetation, the way that the building was able to grow old in peace – to become a part of nature. Aalto also made copious use of water motifs in his architecture, something not found in the Finnish architecture tradition. In all his internationalism Aalto was a “son of the forest”, who understood the world of sound that water brings with it, and that babbling water adds a living element to the urban environment,” says the curator of the exhibition Teija Isohauta.

Ambassador of Finland to Iran, Kari Kahiluoto: “Alvar Aalto is a globally renowned Finn who left his trademark visionary impressions on the Finnish self-expression in buildings, furniture and objects of applied arts. Aalto modelled wood and glass in a new way. He developed techniques for the bending of wood to create both housing and public spaces, including customized furniture that still today represents the functionality and esthetics of the Finnish nature and the Finnish people. It is a great joy to have the exhibitions of Alvar Aalto in 2022 in Isfahan and Shiraz, cities known for the pearls of Islamic architecture.”

The exhibitions have been arranged in a collaboration between the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Embassy of Finland in Tehran, Safavi Museum & Aknoon Galleries, Isfahan and Khane Honar, Shiraz.


Further information:
Embassy of Finland in Tehran, Iran
Tel. +98 212 351 2000


The Landscape of Alvar Aalto
Safavi Museum & Aknoon Galleries, 26.4.– 8.5.2022
Address:  Aknoon: No. 135, Marnan St. Safavi: Khaghani St., Corner of Alley No. 31

Khane Honar, 13.5.– 1.6.2022
Address: Eram St., End of 3rd Alley, Shiraz Art House