Alvar and the Reindeers

Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is Finlands most famous architect. His buildings are found not only in Finland, but also in Sweden, Estonia, Iceland, Germany, France, Switzerland, USA, Croatia and Iraq. One of his most important building is the library of Viipuri, Finland, and after WWII in Vyborg, Soviet Union/Russia.

After  WWII Aalto made the famous master plan – ”The Reindeer Antler Plan” – for the destroyed town of Rovaniemi. Several of his own projects were also built: Korkalorinne (Tapiola) h0using area, Aho commercial and residential buildings, and Maison Aho. But the best known ensemble is the Cultural Centre: the library, town hall and the Lappia house.

Teuvo Tuomivaara´s sculpture Loikka

The reindeer is a symbol of Lapland and Rovaniemi. In 2008 there were 12 530 reindeers in Rovaniemi, owned by 438 people. The meat production was about 155 000 kilos a year – they are not only Santa´s little helpers. In Sweden and Norway reindeer herding is a Sámi privilege, in Finland every EU-citizen can start herding – another question is whether it´s a good business idea. In Rovaniemi the reindeer herders are Finns, although some may have Sámi roots.

Four well-known artists from Finnish Lapland made their visions of a reindeer for Aalto´s Cultural Centre area in 2008. Pororaito (”Reindeer Caravan”) was a joint project of the town and Lapin taiteilijaseura – an organization of professional artists in Lapland. The works are: Tom Engblom (Rovaniemi): Oonko mie tiellä?, Risto Immonen (Rovaniemi): Ulosmarssi, Teuvo Tuomivaara (Posio): Loikka and Sauli Miettunen (Kemi): Luonnon osa and Vasa.

Sauli Miettunen´s Vasa

See a cavalkade of modern art from (Finnish) Lapland – not just reindeers! The text is in Finnish, Swedish, Sámi, English, Japan and Estonia:


Comments are closed.