Architect
Alvar Aalto Elissa Aalto
Completion
1956
Renovation
1990
Category
Assembly buildings
Tags
art concrete culture open building restoration skylight wood

In 1955 the Aaltos were commissioned to design a small pavilion for Finnish exhibits at the biennial international art exhibitions in Giardini, Venice. Alvar and Elissa Aalto designed a wedge-shaped structure to be assembled of light, dismountable wall and roof units made in Finland and transported to Italy. The idea was that it could be dismantled and stored between exhibitions or re-erected on another site. Owing to errors in production, however, it has remained immovably in place since the summer of 1956.

Restored in 1990, it is now used by the Biennale for temporary exhibitions. It consists exclusively of an exhibition room of some 100 square metres and is lighted by a system of longitudinal ‘lock’ skylights, which the Aaltos tried in the design of the pavilion for the first time. The dark blue wooden wall units are supported from outside by large concrete triangles painted white for contrast. From 1962 through 2007 the pavilion was rented to other countries: Italy, Argentina, Portugal, and most recently Iceland. Since 2007, with the support from the Finnish Ministry of Culture, similarly as in the first years 1956–1960 of the pavilion, it has been used biennaly for Finnish art and architecture exhibitions. In 2012 the pavilion was damaged during a storm but was restored afterwards.

Source: Alvar Aalto Foundation

Location

Castello, 30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy, Venice
45.4292239, 12.3585396

Images

Northern elevation, Aalto Pavilion
Northern elevation, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Main entrance, Aalto Pavilion
Main entrance, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Interior, Aalto Pavilion
Interior, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Interior, Aalto Pavilion
Interior, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Backside entrance, Aalto Pavilion
Backside entrance, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Backside entrance, Aalto Pavilion
Backside entrance, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Western elevation, Aalto Pavilion
Western elevation, Aalto Pavilion (© Ugo Carmeni / Frame Finland)
Elevation plan, Aalto Pavilion
Elevation plan, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Floor plan, Aalto Pavilion
Floor plan, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Plan of the lantern, Aalto Pavilion
Plan of the lantern, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Construction site in 1956, Aalto Pavilion
Construction site in 1956, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Construction site in 1956, Aalto Pavilion
Construction site in 1956, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Construction site in 1956, Aalto Pavilion
Construction site in 1956, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Elissa and Alvar Aalto in the pavilion in 1956, Aalto Pavilion
Elissa and Alvar Aalto in the pavilion in 1956, Aalto Pavilion (© Alvar Aalto Foundation)

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