Internationally renowned as one of the major achievements of modern architecture, the work of Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was deeply rooted in the culture and the landscape of his native Finland. A Grand Duchy of Russia until the revolution of 1917, the newly independent state promoted architecture as a means of establishing its identity as a social democracy, and in Aalto found an architect with the ambition and talents to meet the challenge. Throughout a long and fertile career his work embraced almost all the key public institutions - town halls, libraries, theatres, churches, universities and government departments - as well as social housing and private dwellings. He brought to buildings of every type and scale a profound concern for the physical and psychological needs of their individual users, as well as sensitivity to natural sites and materials and to the experimental qualities of architecture.
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