Process of a global triangulation of cultures: How Alvar Aalto’s design methodology crossed the Asia Pacific region

Silvia Micheli, Marja Sarvimaki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


Finnish modern culture has been shaping Australian society’s taste for furniture and architecture since the post-war period. At the same time, Japanese influence is also seen in the work of many 20th century Australian as well as Finnish architects. Amongst the commonalities that these three architectural cultures share, there are the attention paid to nature; use of natural materials; preference for asymmetrical compositions; celebration of spatial sequences and thrive to represent the national identity through the built environment. The process of influences between European and Asia Pacific design experiences involved a complex synthesis of interrelationships. It is also through the understanding of Japanese architectural culture that the Australian community of architects has developed the sensibility to the reception of modern Finnish design. This paper is an initial exploration of the cross-pollination of Japanese, Finnish and Australian cultures, the means of diffusion (publications, exhibitions, grand tours) and implications in mid and late 20th century Australia. In so doing, it will add a layer of interpretation to the ongoing studies on the circulation of modern design ideas globally through the notion of “triangulation of cultures,” untangling the most general assumption of a straight and univocal influence of one culture onto another. The paper will consider projects from the post-war years – when Australian architects started travelling to Finland and Japan – as well as more recent works, including the house in Lovett Bay, Sydney (1994) by Richard Leplastrier, one of the most advanced Australian examples of the synthesis of Japanese and Finnish architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 Proceedings - Inheritable Resilience
Subtitle of host publicationSharing Values of Global Modernities
EditorsAna Tostoes, Yoshiyuki Yamana
PublisherDocomomo International
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)987-4-904700-68-6
ISBN (Print)987-4-904760-66-6, 978-490470079-2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Publication series

NameInheritable Resilience: Sharing Values of Global Modernities - 16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 Proceedings


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