The Influences of Nordic Classicism and Functionalism on the Viipuri Library

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The Influence of Nordic Classicism and Functionalism on the Viipuri Library Unit 220: History and Theory UP666257 The Viipuri Library is an interesting building by Alvar Aalto as its development spans two different architectural styles, starting as a purely Nordic Classical building with the original design proposed in 1927 at the height of the Nordic Classical style but was finished in the Functionalist style in 1933.With this essay I will explore how this influenced the design of the Viipuri Library. The front of the Stockholm Municipal Library addresses the public space in similar ways to classical architecture with a grand staircase to the entrance which is on a plinth above the space. The development of Nordic Classicism was no isolated phenomenon, but took off from classical traditions already existing in the Nordic countries, and from new ideas being pursued in German-speaking cultures. Nordic Classicism can thus be characterised as a combination of direct and indirect influences from vernacular architecture (Nordic, Italian and German) and Neoclassicism, but also the early stirrings of Modernism from the Deutscher Werkbund. A good example of Nordic Classicism is the Stockholm Municipal Library by Gunnar Asplund which draws influence from the classical orders but simplifies it into pure geometric forms and removes most of the decoration found on National Romantic buildings. The result is a public building which still retains a sense of monumentality and importance of the classical orders provide yet is simple and devoid of decoration. It is generally believed that Nordic Classicism came to an end in 1930 at the Stockholm Exhibition where Asplund and others proposed a simpler, stripped down architectural style, Functionalism. The exhibition was a successful start for Functionalism and the International Style and made them the dominant styles in
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