Projecting Alvar Aalto: New Perspectives in Research, Film and Curating

This event explores new perspectives on Alvar Aalto at the intersection of scholarly, artistic and curatorial practices. Widely recognised as the greatest Nordic modern architect of the twentieth century, Aalto holds a privileged place in the historiography of modernism. However, Aalto’s relationship to the moving image—a growing field of study in architectural history—has not yet been subject to extensive research.

This event launches a new collaborative project between the University of Cambridge and the Alvar Aalto Museum, which seeks to interrogate the interpretive possibilities of fiction and documentary film in the analysis of Aalto’s oeuvre and modernism more broadly.

Thursday 12 March, 3–5 pm

Old Library, Pembroke College

  • 3 pm:    3 x 20 min lectures
  • 4 pm:    Panel discussion + Q&A
  • 5 pm:    Drinks reception


  • Tommi Lindh: “Aino & Alvar Aalto: Groundbreakers of Modern Architecture & Design”
  • Virpi Suutari: “Narratives of Space: How to Make Architecture Alive and Tactile in Film”
  • Sofia Singler: “Analysing Architectural Archives on Site: The Case of Aalto’s Wolfsburg Churches”


Tommi Lindh is CEO of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, which works globally on all things concerning Alvar Aalto. He is currently working to advance the nomination of Aalto’s sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List and to widen the cooperation between the Alvar Aalto Cities of the world.

Virpi Suutari is an acclaimed Finnish documentary film director and screenwriter best known for her cinematic style and emotional narratives. Her works have been presented at several major documentary festivals.

Sofia Singler is a Gates Cambridge Scholar researching Alvar Aalto’s post-war religious architecture, and Director of Studies in Architecture at Girton College.

Maximilian Sternberg is Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Architecture in the Department of Architecture in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Pembroke College. Recent books include Phenomenologies of the City (Ashgate 2015) and Modern Architecture and the Sacred (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).

Nicholas Ray is Reader Emeritus in Architecture at the University of Cambridge, Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor in Architectural Theory at the University of Liverpool. He is a Director of NRAP architects, and author of books on Alvar Aalto and Rafael Moneo (both Yale University Press).