Karl Fleig’s Alvar Aalto Complete Works have become one of the most trusted reference books in Alvar Aalto’s architectural production. Volume 2 covers the years 1963–1970 and presents the later career of the Aalto office from the civic centre designs to Seinäjoki and Rovaniemi to the Schönbühl apartment house in Lucerne, Switzerland. The projects have been presented through black-and-white photos and concise descriptions in French, English and German. The book also contains Alvar Aalto’s essay The Architect’s Conscience from 1957, the text The Arts, Karl Fleig’s introduction to Alvar Aalto’s working methods at his office completed with a conversation from summer 1969.
Human life is a combination of tragedy and comedy. The shapes and designs which surround us are the music accompanying this tragedy and this comedy. The furniture, the fabrics, the colour schemes and the structures can be earnestly and happily made so that they produce no contrast to the tragedy and comedy of human life. In this they correspond to decent dress and to decent living. All exaggerated designs make a mockery of us and even worse. I believe that if more mortal aspects are taken into account, industry, with its vast range of potentialities, can avoid comic exaggerations and help man in many ways to live more harmoniously. If in these ways town planning, the home, the apartment and interior fittings can be improved, we shall have the satisfaction that we too are able to let a little sunshine into the soul of unhappy mankind.
— Alvar Aalto, The Architect’s Conscience (1957). In: Alvar Aalto: Volume 2 of the Complete Works, 1963–1970, p.8
All the texts are in French, English and German. The rich illustration consists of black-and-white photographs and some architectural drawings and sketches.
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