Alvar Aalto’s Synthetic Rationality. The Logic of Form and Image

Juhani Pallasmaa |翻譯:謝孟璇

「建築是個幾乎涉及所有人類活動領域的合成現象[…]這並非是現代建築首見、或現今才有的、錯誤的自我合理化。若有錯那也是錯在這種合理化尚且不夠深入[…]現代建築的最新階段並非對抗理性心態,而是試圖把技術領域的理性方法,投射到人性與心理領域去 […]技術功能主義唯有擴大到甚至能涵蓋心理主義時,才算恰當。那也是使建築人性化的唯一途徑。」-《人性化的建築》(The Humanizing of Architecture,1940年),阿爾瓦.阿爾托(Alvar Aalto)著。





阿爾托是唯一一位從未受到建築學者與批評家仔細評論的現代建築重量級人物。他經常被視作國際風格的另類代表、今日全球主義的「另一種傳統」(The Other Tradition);後者用詞是擷自科林.聖約翰.威爾遜爵士(Sir Colin St. John Wilson)的著作書名,該書旨在重新評價現代主義運動2之價值及期許。另外,雖在阿爾托去世後,相關的研究與書籍始終源源不絕地出現,然而其作品裡的人道精神與價值、還有設計策略,卻從未被充分理解。......(全文請見《實構築季刊》03期)

“Architecture is a synthetic phenomenon covering practically all fields of human activity[…]It is not rationalisation itself that was wrong in the first and now past period of modern architecture. The wrongness lies in the fact that the rationalisation has not gone deep enough[…] Instead of fighting rational mentality, the newest phase of modern architecture tries to project rational methods from the technical field out to human and psychological fields […] Technical Functionalism is correct only if enlarged to cover even the psychophysical fields. That is the only way to humanize architecture.”

Alvar Aalto, “The Humanizing of Architecture”, 1940

Alvar Aalto and Today's Architectural Scene

Today cities around the world are dominated by techno-economically oriented and stylistically globalized construction, that seeks to catch attention through forced formal, technical and aesthetic innovations. In our time, architecture is threatened by two opposite forces, instrumentalization and functionalization, on the one hand ,and aestheticization, on the other. Considering the currently dominant orientation in architecture, characterized by eccentric shapes, structural gymnastics, new materials and technologies, digitally generated imageries, and international star architects orbiting around the world, an lecture on Alvar Aalto’s (1898-1976) life´s work may appear outdated.

Alvar Aalto, the Finnish master architect and designer, died almost forty years ago, and his work has never been considered part of the architectural avant-garde. He has always been seen as an architectural dissident. At the time of his death, architecture had reached the all time low point in his homeland due to the dominance of short-sighted technocratic views and crude profit-seaking, and Aalto was widely considered an architect of the past. Besides, he had chosen to work in his remote homeland, and his work was seen to be born and expressive of the unique characteristics of Finnish landscape, specific conditions of light, as well as the particular cultural and social realities of the North, without a wider universal relevance. Whereas the main line of modernism aspired for a universal formal language, he sought a regional expression bound to its very place.

Yet, today the growing feeling, that achitecture is too often based on futile and passing values is drawing the multifaceted design work and humanistic philosophy of Alvar Aalto into the focus of architectural thought. In architectural education, one can sense a growing yearning for a more inclusive and humanistic, sensuous and experientially grounded architecture, and for a design thinking that is rooted in the lived human reality, rather than a passing theory, style, or fashion.

Aalto is the only major figure of modern architecture who has not been much criticised by architectural scholars and critics. He is often seen to represent an alternative to the International Style, and today’s Globalism,”The Other Tradition”, paraphrazing the title of Sir Colin St. John Wilson’s seminal book that re-assessed the values and aspirations of the Modern Movement.2 On the other hand, regardless of the constant stream of studies and books on Aalto since his death, the humane qualities and values of his work, as well as his design strategies, have not been very well understood.