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The Evangelical Lutheran Stephanus Church (here the south façade) in Wolfsburg-Detmerode with its community centre was the third building designed by Alvar Aalto for the city. The complex was inaugurated in 1968, Photo: City of Wolfsburg/Tim Dalhoff

Like Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto is one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. His buildings, from his home and studio in Helsinki to the Santa Maria Assunta Church in Riola, which was inaugurated only two years after his death, are an integral part of the modernist architectural canon. To draw attention to the architectural and intellectual legacy of the architect and designer, the Helsinki-based Alvar Aalto Foundation, in cooperation with the Aalto Cities Network, celebrates an annual week of events around Alvar Aalto, architecture, design, art and culture. As 31 August marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Aalto-designed House of Culture in Wolfsburg, the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Wolfsburg are organising an Alvar Aalto Week outside Finland for the first time from 31 August to 11 September. The Kulturhaus was the first of a total of three buildings realised by the Finnish architect in Wolfsburg. The Holy Spirit Church and the Stephanus Community Centre in Wolfsburg-Detmerode were added later. No other city outside Finland has so many buildings by Aalto.

The Alvar Aalto Week 2022 will open on 1 September in the Stephanus parish with guests from Finland and a colourful cultural programme with a theatre performance and music. One day later, a symposium on the topic of “Post-war modernism in practice” will take place in the Alvar Aalto House of Culture around the question “Are monument protection and renovation compatible? Under the title “More than architecture, sauna and a thousand lakes – an evening in Finland with music”, a themed evening – framed by music and song by the Finnish singer Tuija Komi – will bring anecdotes and experiences to the stage. Since Scandinavian design, in the post-war period as well as today, is particularly appreciated in Northern Germany, the architecture critic Hubertus Adam, the director of the Finnish furniture manufacturer Artek, Marianne Goebl, and the design historian Mathias Remmele will illuminate the background of these developments on 4 September at the Museum August Kestner in Hanover. Lectures, readings, audio-vision shows and Finnish cooking and language courses round off the programme.

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