a+u Architecture and Urbanism 21:03_606

a+u - Architecture and Urbanism - is a monthly architectural magazine established in 1971. Since its inaugural issue, a+u has been widely celebrated by architects everywhere as Japan's only monthly periodical that provides in-depth reporting of architecture worldwide. Each issue is edited from a unique perspective, with essays penned by renowned architects, critics, and historians to guide the direction of tomorrow’s architecture, within and beyond Japan. Text is bilingual in English and Japanese. 1971年1月創刊。創刊以来、海外の建築情報を伝える日本唯一の月刊誌として、広く建築界に親しまれています。a+uの取材ネットワークは全世界に及び、100余カ国を網羅しています。これら各国の建築家を直接取材し、毎号独自の視点で編集することにより、生の動向をいち早く読者の皆様にお届けしています。また、建築家・評論家・歴史家による書き下ろし論文を掲載し、明日の建築のあり方を考える指針として国内外の建築界に多大な影響を与えています。

A+U Publishing, Co., Ltd.
12 期号


feature: alvar aalto houses – material and details

a+u March issue features Alvar Aalto’s houses. 12 works from the 1920s to 1970s are presented with photographs taken over the years by Finnish photographer Jari Jetsonen, and texts by architectural historian Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen. In “Alvar Aalto Houses – Timeless Expressions” (a+u extra edition, June 1998), site plans were the focal point. In this issue, we approach Aalto’s design from the perspective of “materials and details” of each house, adding 2 new works to the 10 featured in the 1998 extra edition. Jari Jetsonen’s photographs, which capture human lives, reveal the quality of the space and through them we trace the processes of design. In each project, Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen describes its background at the time of construction, such as social situations or design processes, to Aalto’s choices of materials and details…

essay: close-ups – a world of materials and details

“The word, the spoken and the written word, has the most immediate impact on human beings; in contrast, matter ‘speaks more slowly’.”1 The atmosphere of Alvar Aalto’s buildings and the comprehensiveness of his architecture are a result of many different factors: spatial vibrancy, the interaction between the building and the surrounding nature or landscape, and the balance between details and materials. The following article focuses on the importance these factors play in the houses Aalto designed and how he himself described their role. His central aim was comprehensiveness in terms of a logical naturalness. He strived to avoid “applied” decoration and forcing the work into a predetermined form. For Aalto formalism meant inhumanity. There always had to be an opportunity for change and growth. Humanizing the mechanical essence of building materials…

villa vekara

Villa Vekara, commissioned by agronomist Emil Vekara, who in the 1920s lived in the house adjacent to Aalto’s architectural office in Jyväskylä, was the first ever summer house Aalto designed.1 The villa is located on a rocky terrain beside a lake in Central Finland. The site’s topographical conditions were challenging because of the steep slope, and the original plan was mirrored to better fit the terrain.2 The small building has a living room and a kitchen on the ground floor and 2 small bedrooms upstairs. Aalto added variation and asymmetry to the simple pitch-roofed volume by using a different roof angle on the lakeside porch. A loggia motif with a low barrel-vaulted ceiling articulates both the entrance porch and the larger lakeside veranda. Other elegant accents include luscious balustrades in…

terho manner house

Located in a lake landscape in Central Finland, the Terho Manner House has a dominant position on a sloping hillside with a terraced stairway descending down to the shore. The lower symmetrical wings repeat the form of the house: all 3 facing the lake with neoclassical pediments. The client, engineer Terho Manner, was a cousin of Aalto’s mother, who, like Aalto’s father, worked as a surveyor. The hierarchy of the buildings is emphasized with variations of colonnades, from the monumental porch of the main building to the elegant garden pavilion, to the almost humorous colonnade elements on the storage doors. The hall is the focal point of the Terho Manner House. It serves the practical needs of circulation but also visually and spatially connects the surrounding rooms with each other and with…

villa flora

Alvar and Aino Aalto built their own summer villa on the shore of Lake Alajärvi in 1926. The villa was in fact designed by Aino Aalto. The small building is located at the water’s edge on a sandy beach. On the lake side of the building is a simple wooden colonnade running the length of the entire façade, supporting the barrel-vaulted porch that provides shade on hot summer days. Here the family could hang up a hammock and relax. Though the villa has a wooden structure, the facades were finished with a chalk-white render, which together with the wooden window shutters and colonnade gives it an air of classicism. The villa originally comprised a spacious living room with space reserved also for a dining table, a kitchen, and a bedroom. It…

villa tammekann

Villa Tammekann, located in the old university town of Tartu in Estonia, was the first project Aalto realized outside Finland. August Tammekann, a professor of geography, had met Aalto in Turku at the beginning of the 1930s. In March 1932 Tammekann wrote to Aalto asking for a proposal for a modern villa in a verdant area of single-family houses favored by Tartu’s academic intelligentsia.1 The Tammekanns had very specific wishes for the room arrangement and clearly stated the needs of the family. Everything was discussed, from the height of the ground floor to the sizes of windows.2 The strongest demand Irene Tammekann made was for a room of her own, where she insisted on having evening sunlight and a window facing west.3 The project proceeded quickly and construction began in summer 1932.4…