Cities are boring; they no longer contain any mystery. Even on advertising billboards, that “last refuge of humour and poetry”, it’s increasingly difficult for us to distinguish mystery, wrote Ivan Shcheglov, the prophet and ‘mad diamond’ of situationism in Formulary for a New Urbanism (1953).
The Finnish architecture critic Juhani Pallasmaa has said that one of Aalto’s principal design methods was collage. This Avant-garde principle was the principle Aalto used in creating the composition for Villa Mairea, a project which he saw as a prototype for living space for generations to come in the future classless society.
Think of a landscape, and you inevitably imagine a wild place in which, in keeping with the tradition of landscape painting, human beings and architecture occupy only a small space, compared to the enormous world which surrounds these subjects.
‘The big buildings collapsed immediately. The shanties remained unharmed,” predicted Vasily Kandinsky in his poem ‘The Bassoon’. Our time is witness to the construction of, above all, ‘big buildings’. Continuing urbanization is causing cities to grow; St Petersburg, Helsinki, and capital cities of the Baltic states are expanding.
One version has it that ‘Suomi’ derives from the same Indo-European root as ‘zemlya’ [the Russian word meaning ‘ground’ or ‘land’]. By calling their country after the ground itself, the Finns have firmly linked the notion of their identity with the territory and its terrain – cliffs, lakes, forests, and snows, i.e. with everything which constitutes the distinctive character of Finnish nature.
At a conference, taking place in Tallinn on April 21-22, architecture’s turn to nature and data will be explored from political and historical perspectives. Keynote speakers are Matthew Gandy and Douglas Spencer from the UK. The conference is organised by the
One of the foreign members of the jury for the Dolina Park competition, held by Project Baltia and Glavstroy-SPb, was the landscape architect Martin Rein-Cano, co-founder of Berlin firm TOPOTEK 1. Marina Nikiforova talked to Rein-Cano after the open lecture he gave at the New Stage of the Aleksandrinsky Theatre on February 15th, 2018.