Information About The Exhibition In Lübeck
"ALVAR AALTO - Berlin – Bremen – Essen – Wolfsburg"

22nd July to 30th August 2001
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and up to 8 p.m. during all concerts of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival taking place in Lübeck

The "ALVAR AALTO – Berlin – Bremen – Essen – Wolfsburg" exhibition was held for the first time in Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni, from the 21st November 1998 to 10th January 1999. The exhibition was organised in a very short time by the Wolfsburg Corporation and the Finnish Institute in Germany in Cupertino with the German Alvar Aalto Centre in Wolfsburg to commemorate Alvar Aalto's 100th birthday. All of Alvar Aalto's buildings in Germany (Berlin, Bremen, Essen and Wolfsburg) were documented in different ways..

This small display of works, this "staging" of an architect's office has now become a travelling exhibition and is now to be shown in the St. Petri Church in Lübeck. The church curators have made space available and are in charge of the exhibition.

The opening will take place on Sunday, 22nd July at 6 p.m. and the curator of the St. Petri Church, Björn Engholm, Bärbel Weist, Second Lady Mayor of Wolfsburg, and Uwe Ferdinand, President of the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Architects and Engineers will be present. The Finnish ambassador, Arto Mansala, will open the exhibition which can be viewed daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The display of works, which is brought to life by an authentic atmosphere with the character of a studio with drawing boards, stools and models, will also show "used" designed objects which exist in the presented buildings. The owners of the buildings in Wolfsburg have once again loaned these objects free of charge fur the duration of the exhibition; lamps, ash trays, builders' fittings and hardware, door handles and even tables and chairs from the cultural centre (now called the Alvar Aalto Kulturhaus) as well as from both community centres.

The Alvar Aalto Zentrum Deutschland e.V. Wolfsburg organisation has also designed the mini-catalogue. Issue 2 includes recent writings on Alvar Aalto's architecture in both German and English. There is also a video film report on the Wolfsburg buildings, namely the Alvar Aalto Kulturhaus, the church of the Holy Ghost and the Stephanus community centre. Architectural critic Ulf Meyer wrote the following in 1998 about the Berlin exhibition: "Alvar Aalto is the overlord of 20th century Scandinavian architecture. A whole series of events in Finland and Germany were dedicated to the Finnish architect in 1998 on the occasion of his 100th birthday, as Aalto also played an important role in Germany, especially in the 50's. A small but excellent exhibition in the Berlin Pavilion "Alvar Aalto – Berlin, Bremen, Essen, Wolfsburg" is therefore dedicated to his works in four German towns ... In order to create an atmosphere which reminds one of an architect's office, the majority of the exhibits are presented on wooden tables and in display cases with desk lamps, in front of which interested visitors can sit down in order to study them in detail. The stools, of course, were designed by the master himself: not only drawings, photographs and models of the six buildings which Aalto realised in Germany are shown but also his furniture and product designs – especially lamps and the bentwood chairs so loved around the world. Some objects from the Aalto Foundation in Helsinki are on show for the first time. The careful attention to detail which is characteristic for Aalto's designs, is clearly demonstrated by the precise sketches and objects. The Cultural Centre in Wolfsburg can be especially well reconnoitred using video and CD-ROM. Printed lengths of fabric material show Aalto's architecture in Germany and subdivide the space in the Berlin Pavilion which was built on the occasion of the "Interbau '57" – as was Aalto's only work in Berlin, namely his residential building in the Hansaviertel ..."

With such an ambitious theme, a new exhibition can only mean that an appropriate architectural setting has to be created. The organisers of the Lübeck exposition are the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Architects and Engineers, Wolfsburg Corporation, the Finland Institute in Germany, and the curators of the St. Petri Church in Lübeck.

The following were involved in the concept, arrangement and preparation of this Lübeck exhibition: Bert Neumann, set-designer for the Volksbühne (People's Theatre) Berlin, and the architect Cornelia Thömmes; the graphic design was done by the Berlin offices "Fernkopie" (posters) and Isd-berlin (mini-catalogue). The video film as well as the invitations were produced by the Braunschweig office of Hinz & Kunst together with the previously mentioned Alvar Aalto Zentrum Deutschland e.V. Wolfsburg.

Co-ordination was carried out by the Wolfsburg Corporation, Preservation of Townscape and Historical Monuments Department.

The Aalto Theatre in Essen kindly loaned two of the models, the others will be supplied – as already for the Berlin exhibition – by the former Aalto office, today the Alvar Aalto Foundation in Helsinki. Amongst others involved in the production of the designed spatial installations, the Reiwand & Lobenstein company is responsible for the scaffolded box, the carpenters Muschert for the wooden structures. The videos can be watched in the approx. 5 x 5 m large "box". The Sinicus company carried out the electrical installation and the software company Malz++Kassner is responsible for the updating and additions to the internet pages. The Artek company will provide much support to the exhibition, supplying furniture that is still produced today, thus enabling a direct comparison between furniture and lighting fittings.

There will also be guided tours through the exhibition, mainly to introduce Aalto's architecture to interested lay persons led by Cornelia Thömmes of the Alvar Aalto Zentrum Deutschland e.V.

It is planned to offer a guided tour on the opening day at 7 p.m. and a further tour on Sunday, 29th July 2001, at 12 noon.

Address: Am Petrikirchhof 1, 23552 Lübeck
Telephone: (0451) 39 77 30, Fax: (0451) 39 77 32 9
E-mail address:

The existing internet websites,, and will also be available off-line at a PC in the exhibition.

Wolfgang Wittig