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Makings of a surrounding world: The public spaces of the Aalto atelier.

Charrington, Harry (2008) Makings of a surrounding world: The public spaces of the Aalto atelier. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis considers the qualities of the Aalto atelier's public works, and their production. It argues that the atelier's achievement in making places rests on the simultaneous operations of its playful working approach coupled to an underlying historical - human - orientation. It maintains that, reflexive with the specific character and history of Finland, the Aalto atelier's public works form an Umwelt (surrounding world) that invokes the experience of an earlier stage of historical development and public life, and which evolves through the accretion of experiences acted upon it. This is communicated by a morphology of environmental relationships and taxonomy of spatial and formal types that form a sublimated pattern in which buildings and spaces structure, inform and frame public life. They create an environment in which socially beneficial patterns of behaviour are either encouraged to happen, or are represented, and therefore legitimised and encouraged. The Aalto atelier achieved this through an assimilatory and intuitive approach to design. They adopted a technique that matched their aims through conceiving spatial design as a unifying topology structured by lived experience. This was an approach enabled by its ingenious realisation within the freedom and values of play. The social practice that shaped this artistic process necessitated sensitivity to contingency and so enabled the Aalto atelier to build within the everyday conditions of modern life. The process was fulfilled through the support of an atelier - a collective approach to design - that appreciated these values and saw them translated into material form. The thesis evaluates this through a single case study, the Seinajoki Centre (1951-88). In addition, it documents the historical and contemporary circumstances and connections, that informed the Aalto atelier's work, and it draws on interviews with twenty-eight of its members.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Architecture, Scandinavian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Sociology

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