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Alvar Aalto and his Wooden Pavilions: Towards the Tectonics Dissolution at the Forest Pavilion at Lapua

Suau, Cristian 2001. Alvar Aalto and his Wooden Pavilions: Towards the Tectonics Dissolution at the Forest Pavilion at Lapua. PhD Thesis, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

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The emphasis on the technical efforts carried out at the World Fairs -and mainly the pavilions- do not necessary trigger the architectural answer that is expected, in the sense of fostering new spatial reflections and innovative building contribution on the idea of transitory, ephemeral and elemental architecture and its particular tectonics trails. It means that, within the spatial, material and technological concepts that we produce around the idea of the pavilion of representation at the World Fairs, there exists a lack of knowledge and loss of manifestoes as well. The latest World Fairs such as in Seville, 1992; in Lisbon, 1998 or in Hannover, 2000 have been more than large-scale technological events or real-state operations oriented to surprise rather than transform or guide up. These are a cultural radiography that show out our current architecture under the progressive loss of a genuine dwelling; mostly expressed in the idea of the pavilion of representation. Hence, the pavilions are, on one hand, intuitive inventions engendered by accidents that lead into a visionary and experimental living and, on the other hand, contain profound cultural features and elementary techniques. The doctoral research has been focused on two main questions. In terms of research by design, how does the textile meaning interact within the matter of Aaltian pavilions? How have these pavilions found out the essential tectonic trail? In order to understand these inquiries, we might analyse the close relationship between Aalto’s pavilions and the language of a singular material: wood. To Aalto, a pavilion was a sort of “(...) fantastic structure of free forms... a building with an inner facade” and added “(the pavilion) is an assemblage... a space completely varied”. The thesis describes the artwork of Aaltian pavilions as a process rather than finished pieces of architecture. Each chapter shows a gradual approach from the notion of pavilion and the tectonics of Semper applicable in elemental spaces for display. Then it establishes a textile pathway from a compact, monumental and bulky skin in the early pavilions into a turbulent, liquid and fibrous membrane. The main chapter take a specific time gap by investigating three Aaltian pavilions, from 1937 until 1939, which initiates a fascinating transformation from a Cartesian mechanism to a fluctuating organism, most distinctively expressed in the full-ignored ‘Metsapaviljonski’ or forest pavilion in Lapua. The Lapua pavilion –fugitive, ungraspable and temporary potential dwelling- emerges as a playful manifesto of Aalto’s experimentalism. This pavilion-organism establishes a double dialogue: from Nature to Architecture and from Architecture to Nature by scaling a sort of elastic mould. The situation is that the place houses the building as the building moulds the place. Conclusions. In order to discover this Semperian trail in the artwork of the Aaltian pavilions, certainly we might explore the notion of elemental wooden shed. By accident, the graphic documentation and rendering of Lapua pavilion reveal a tight link to the wood-framing used in a traditional Finn-Lappish Kota. The result of both design strategies is the camouflage, where indoor and outdoor spaces are deleted and appear a landscape without constraints. Each pavilion defines an intimate topographic relationship with the woodscape and its primary forms, looking to forge a metaphor of the thermal home in a remote world, using primal architectural tools: row matter, elemental framing and the flows of nature and nomadic cultures as output of a veil in motion. This membrane constitutes the poetic and technical dwelling of the Aaltian pavilion. Here, we may conclude that the matter -wood as substance- moulds the form -the pavilion as organism- which dissolves in its own shape.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wooden Pavilions, Tectonics, Compactness, Lightness, Agile Fabrication
Language other than English: Spanish
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Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:22

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