Does this restoration do justice to the modernist icon?

by Valentina Ieva
2 Love 1659 Visits

Bonnie Burnham, President of World Monuments Fund (WMF), announced on October 30th that the project to restore Alvar Aalto 's Viipuri Library in Vyborg, Russia, which took two challenging decades to complete, has been awarded the 2014 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize.

He said: “Viipuri Library is an iconic modern structure and we are delighted to witness its successful restoration through an international network of funders and professionals. It speaks to the fundamental mission of WMF, which was founded on the belief that international cooperation can play a catalytic role in saving important historic sites around the globe".

In 1996, WMF launched its World Monuments Watch program, which over the years has brought attention and resources to more than 20 endangered modern buildings. Among these, in addition to Viipuri Library, have been the Villa Tugendhat, Brno, the Czech Republic (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe); the International Fairground, Tripoli, Lebanon (Oscar Niemeyer); Taliesin and Taliesin West, Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Scottsdale, Arizona, respectively (Frank Lloyd Wright); Kings Road House, West Hollywood, California (Rudolf Michael Schindler); Grosse Pointe Memorial Library, Michigan (Marcel Breuer); the Orange County Government Center, Goshen, New York (Paul Rudolph); and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (Eero Saarinen).

Designed by Alvar Aalto and constructed between 1927 and 1935 in what was then the Finnish city of Viipuri, the library reflects the emergence of Aalto’s distinctive combination of organic form and materials with the principles of clear functionalist expression that was to become the hallmark of his architecture.

The biennial award will be presented at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City on December 1, 2014, by Ms. Burnham; Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, Curator of Architecture & Design at MoMA, and chairman of the prize jury; and Andrew B. Cogan, CEO of Knoll, Inc. This will be followed by a free public lecture by the members of the prize-winning team. The prize consists of a cash honorarium of $10,000 and a limited edition Barcelona Chair from Knoll.

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    • Valentina Ieva

      Valentina Ieva


      Bari / Italy

      Laureata in Ingegneria edile-architettura, giornalista per professione, web writer per diletto. Amante di architettura, design, fotografia e libri di carta. Dipendente dai social, Instagram e InstaStories su tutti. Affamata di vita, viaggi e storie da scoprire. Qualunque forma d'arte mi affascina da sempre e non posso pensare una vita senza: emozioni forti, immaginazione, buona musica, cucina pugliese, sole e gatti. Per dirla con le parole di Battiato, non potrei vivere senza: ‘un soffio al)

    Viipuri Library 8

    Viipuri Library

    Vyborg / Russian Federation / 2013