Alvar Aalto and the Bio-Architecture
Flavia FasciaDipartimento di Ingegneria EdileUniversità degli Studi di Napoli Federico IIPiazzale Tecchio, 50 - 80125 Napoli, ItalyPhone +39 081 7682130 fax +39 081 7682146E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A careful reading of the wide and qualified architectonic production of Alvar Aalto allows us to single out bio-climaticsolutions in several works of the Finnish Master.Alvar Aalto, whose architectonic production gave a considerable contribution to the development of the rational and organicarchitecture, has always kept in mind human demands. In this sense, it is useful to remember the S.Giedon’s way of thinking: “Wecan’t speak about Aalto as an architect without speaking about Aalto as a man: men have as much importance as architecture. Aalto’sinterest is to everybody, to each desire and experience, without exclusion of origins or social classes ... He approached beings directlyand without inhibitions; in the same way he approached wood as an organic material”.This paper aims to mark the bio-climatic aspects of some significant works: the Sanatory of Paimio, the Library of Viipuri and theBuilding whole of Kauttua.
In the works of the Modern Movement architects, above all in Alvar Aalto’s ones, even if the Authors doesn’t face directly thequestions about bio-architecture, there is a particular care in the use of natural materials, in the insertion of the building in the naturalenvironment, in the best sunshine conditions and natural lighting . All these elements support the quality of life and are the rudimentsof the bio-architecture.The bases of Aalto’s planning are “nature and biology”; they are also the title of the introduction by Marcello Fagiolo to the essay“Idee di architettura - scritti scelti 1921-1968” published by Zanichelli and dedicated to him.Marcello Fagiolo declares that “the Aalto’s naturalism is a pattern of biological formation and growing”. This reference to the naturecan be easly found in the standardized planning too.According to him, in fact, standardization must be natural; in other words it has to be considered as a “system based on infinitesimalelements, that allows a continuous variability of shapes which grow organically”. Standardization in architecture must scour the samecourse of the biological pattern which affects the “life of shapes”. Architecture needs scientific researches in order to understand newdemands and to take society into an efficient system, where everybody can live in suitable biological conditions and where sun, airand light represent their essence.According to Aalto, architecture must involve all the aspects of human life; so the designer’s task is to put technology into men’sservice. Architecture, in particular, must always serve life and so must defence men, giving humanity to the our life of machines”.Planning means to hold in due consideration materials and building methods. During the International Congress of North LandBuilders at Oslo, in 1938, Alvar Aalto said:
“In ancient times – Micene – or in more remote ages, when the possibilities of using materials didn’t exist or were very few, nature – the sole supplier of raw materials – fixed a limit to the building possibility. The architecture of thoseancient times could be called ‘the architecture of the inventiveness’: in fact, being lacking every possibility to fit materials, they had to be used life-size. Above all block of stones, trunks of tree and skins of animals were used. Architecture was the right combination of such materials. This primitive art awakes among us queer feelings of admiration because in this period there were the first modest victories of the human mind against the raw and untouched nature. On this subject we can speak about the direct influence of materials and methods on architecture –nay – of the quite condition of dependence. Owing to the improvement of building science, the conditions of cause and effect aren’t so clearly differentiated any more. First of all materials coming directly from nature are replaced bybuilding materials; they don’t belong to the original untreated materials any more, but they are liable to a constant manufacture that rose and rises again in the architectonic process”.
From the Finnish Master’s words we can deduce that architecture mustn’t be a hole of buildings but a continuous evolving process,more and more complex, always addressed to new solutions, new shapes and new materials.
“Architecture is and remains a wonderful process of sinthesis in which thousands of human compenents are involved:it is always architecture. Further, its mission is to harmonize world with life”.
The reading of the architectonic production of Alvar Aalto, always marked by formal, functional and technological values, shows theinterest which the Finnish Master had in problems of bio-architecture. In fact, in his works it’s often possible to read some rudimentsof the bio-architecture: