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Aalto | Light : the 2022 Reynolds Symposium - Day 1

Friday, May 20, 2022 at 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Nordic Northwest, Great Hall 8800 SW Oleson Rd. Portland, OR 97223

The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the completion of Alvar Aalto’s Library at Mount Angel Abbey. After postponing this event due to the coronavirus, we will be celebrating this milestone and honoring the beautiful and impactful ways that Aalto made daylighting an integral part of his designs. Please join us for the 2022 Reynolds Symposium: Aalto : Light, in Portland and at the library in Mt. Angel, Oregon, May 20-21, 2022.

The Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, has been named “a master of light.” His architecture is among the most well-regarded of the mid-twentieth century for his innovative use of daylight, which was an integral part of his architectural language. While the majority of his built work is in Finland and northern Europe, two of his buildings are located in the United States; in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at MIT and in Oregon, at Mt. Angel Abbey. During his career, Aalto designed 10 libraries, and a number of reading spaces within other buildings, spanning from Viipuri Library, in Vyborg Russia in 1935 to Mt. Angel Library in1970. Arguably the Mt Angel Library is his best, and it is certainly most sophisticated in terms of its luminous design.

The Mt. Angel Library has recently undergone repairs of its skylight and is once again in pristine condition. In celebration of this anniversary and to celebrate the role that this magnificently daylighted building has played in the lives of architecture students and faculty at the University of Oregon, and beyond, the 4th John Reynolds Symposium will focus on Aalto and light in architecture.

The symposium will launch on Friday with an evening keynote and reception in Portland at Nordic Northwest, and run the full day on Saturday at the Mount Angel Abbey Library, Mt Angel, Oregon.

Friday’s keynote speakers:

Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen and Jari Jetsonen

The Jetsonen’s have collaborated on numerous books and exhibitions on the architecture of Aalto. Their most recent book, Alvar Aalto Libraries, published in 2018 covers all of Aalto’s libraries and other book spaces such as the Academic Bookstore in Helsinki. Sirkkaliisa is an architect who teaches at Aalto University and Washington University. She works at the Finnish National Board of Antiquities. Jari is a photographer specializing in architectural works.


This School of Architecture & Environment event is sponsored by Nordic Northwest, the College of Design's Scandinavian Design Fund and the Department of Architecture Reynolds Symposium Fund.


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