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Constructing a Legend: The International Exhibitions of Finnish Architecture 1957-1967
For decades, the international professional press has described Finland's architecture as characterized by clear-cut forms, logical use of natural materials, attention to detail, careful construction, and sympathetic approach to the landscape. In 'Constructing a Legend', architect-researcher Petra Ceferin takes a critical, strikingly fresh look at the...
For decades, the international professional press has described Finland's architecture as characterized by clear-cut forms, logical use of natural materials, attention to detail, careful construction, and sympathetic approach to the landscape. In 'Constructing a Legend', architect-researcher Petra Ceferin takes a critical, strikingly fresh look at the international image surrounding Finnish architecture today, and more importantly, what lies behind it, why this particular image emerged. The Museum of Finnish Architecture was created, in part, to promote Finnish architecture abroad. Employing a series of carefully crafted exhibition tours comprised largely of photographs, the museum strove to define and disseminate the best architecture the country had to offer. Both the name and work of the renown Alvar Aalto lent credibility and celebrity to these events, capturing the imagination of the public and the press alike. Ceferin sees this exhibition-process as the making of a legend, a rich story handed down from the past, the truth of which she questions with a rare mix of revealing empirical research and a sharp sense of investigative irony. Why do we talk about Finnish architecture the way we do? Why does it appear so easy to recognize its central features in the buildings designed by Finnish architects? And why it is so difficult to describe them in a way that does not correspond with what we know as Finnish architecture? Seizing on the notion that we know architecture principally through photography - that architecture was conveyed to the public through the photographs at these exhibitions - she points to the curious role of this medium in creating a specific image of Finnish architecture. The foundations of modern architecture are in for some critical restoration.
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