Aalto University name celebrates diversity and innovative method
The name "Aalto University" symbolizes change and is a tribute to a courageous, overarching renaissance man, Alvar Aalto, who distinguished himself in not only the fields of technology and economics, but also art. Aalto himself is one of Aalto´s alumni as well as being the creator of the Otaniemi street plan and the School of Science and Technology main building.
The name has been chosen to reflect the concept, spirit, values and goals of the new university.
The Finnish name is Aalto-yliopisto and the Swedish name is Aalto-universitetet.
Alvar Aalto, a cosmopolitan renaissance man
Alvar Aalto's work is characterized by an open-minded, creative approach to research. He tackled problems in depth, avoided settling for the ordinary, and was able to find innovative solutions - by doing things differently. The Aalto University aims to break down walls between scientific and artistic disciplines. The most recent creativity and innovation theories support the idea that interaction between different kinds of people facilitates the birth of new ideas. Opposites generate wisdom and power.
Aalto's life work covers a broad range of the new University's sphere of operations. He familiarized himself with technology and was a significant developer of industrial production and entrepreneurship. His work included visual art, design, furniture, one-family houses, residential areas, large public buildings and area plans. A humanist with a broad education, Aalto emphasized humane, sustainable solutions.
Aalto's heritage represents the ultimate international top - a goal that the new Aalto University strives for by means of research, education, science, technology, economy and art. Aalto himself had an exceptionally broad international network and was, for example, an MIT professor in the United States. Similar uncompromising internationality is the aim of the new University.
Co-operation generates ideas for individual needs
Aalto's famous empathy and co-operation skills are also related to the universities' co-operation project. He was able to work with and treat everyone as an equal, "from a counsellor to the working man". Alvar Aalto's important, well-matched partners included Elissa and Aino Aalto, whose contribution to Aalto's production was highly significant.
Aalto discusses architecture and creativity is his article "Taimen ja tunturipuro" ("The Trout and the Stream"). According to him, architecture and its details are like salmon or trout. They are not born fully-grown, but rather "where rivers narrow into streams within the transparent waters between mountains, beneath the first drops of water from glaciers, as far away from their normal life as a person's instincts and emotional life are from our everyday work." "Just as the development of trout requires time, so too, is time necessary in everything that develops and takes form in our world of ideas," writes Aalto. The Aalto University wishes to provide this place and time for creativity. The university graduates will be individuals who maintain their open-minded inquisitiveness throughout life.
Alvar Aalto CV
- 1898 born in Kuortane on 3 February
- 1916 Matriculation from Jyväskylä Classical Lyceum
- 1921 Diploma in Architecture from the Technological University of Finland
- 1923-1927 Private Architectural office in Jyväskylä
- 1924 Married to Architect Aino Marsio (1894-1949)
- 1927-1933 Architectural office in Turku
- 1933- Architectural office in Helsinki
- 1943-1958 Chairman of the Finnish Association of Architects
- 1946-1948 Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.I.T. (Cambridge, USA)
- 1952 Married to Architect Elissa Mäkiniemi
- 1955- Member of the Academy of Finland
- 1963-1968 President of the Academy of Finland
- 1976 Died in Helsinki on 11 May
(source: Alvar Aalto Foundation)