Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscriptResearch

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[Extract] The analogous evocation of nature in architecture dates back to ancient antiquity and was the basis for early architectural form and expression, as exemplified by the origins of the primitive hut, as proposed by Marc-Antoine Laugier in his Essai sur l’Architecture of 1755. Various iterations and variations of the nature-inspired classical language of architecture continued into the nineteenth century and the dawn of the modern industrialized era, which was heralded by the building of Sir Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. This building echoed nature not merely decoratively but also more profoundly in terms of its form and structural integrity, using industrial methods of production. While the technological advances of the early twentieth century gave rise to the monumental organic visions of the German Expressionists, as well the dynamic utopian architecture of the Russian Constructivists and Italian Futurists, it also led to an unquestioning fascination with rationalized industrialization and mass production, which in turn led
to the universal anonymity of the International Style of architecture that became
ubiquitous in the latter half of the twentieth century.
In contrast to this overwhelming tendency, there were significant notable
exceptions in the expressively sculptural later works of Le Corbusier and selftermed organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, among others. However, it
is perhaps the work of Alvar Aalto and other notable Nordic architects, channeling a deep Nordic appreciation of nature, that provided a significant alternative to the banal conformity of the more widely dominant International Style. As Colin St. John Wilson’s book title makes clear (Wilson, 1995, p. 7), Aalto was the leading pioneer of “the other tradition of modern architecture.” Through a more organic approach to architectural design and use of traditional building materials, Aalto moderated and humanized modern architecture, inspiring many of his fellow Nordic colleagues to follow in similar, but not identical, organic directions in architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganic Design in Twentieth Century Nordic Architecture
EditorsErik Champion
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-315-22616-3
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-78726
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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