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Refinishing Alvar Aalto's Finnish Pavilion

Alvar Aalto’s Finnish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, originally designed as a temporary demountable structure, was built in 1956 and stayed solidly in a place for nearly 56 years until last year when a tree fell on the structure. This year, the structure was entirely dismantled, lovingly restored, and reassembled, by Gianni Talamini—a project that has awakened fresh attention to Aalto’s famed structure.

Architect Gianni Talamini (in blue) with curator Juulia Kauste and exhibition designer Esa Vesmanen stand in front of the restored pavilion. As high-modern structures begin to age, architects around the world are now confronted with how to restore them. Fitting with the theme of this Biennale, preservation challenges encompass another “common ground” in the built environment. This project provides a model for how to retain the spirit of original structures while restoring their performance as a building. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.

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