Houses of the Finnish Gods
For almost their entire history the Finnish people experienced foreign occupation, first by the Swedes, and then by the Russians. The effect of these long centuries of occupation - which only ended after the First World War - had a profoundly repressive effect on Finnish art and architecture.
It was only in the mid-nineteenth that an emergent Finnish nationalism first began to find expression. Houses of the Finnish Gods charts this struggle through the architecture of Finland over the last three hundred years, from the Swedish fortresses to the timber cottages of the forest dwellers of remote Karelia and on to the twentieth century experience of modernism.
It is a story of the rediscovery of a Finnish identity that finds expression in the spectacularly beautiful world of lakes, mists, forests and stories of gods and heroes. Michael Garbutt, urban designer and artist, explores Finland through the fairy tale world of Finnish myth rediscovered in the nineteenth century, to the more abstract twentieth century understanding of Finnish architecture in the work of master designer Alvar Aalto. Through humour, anecdote, and his delightful watercolours, Garbutt, the Man with the Black Chair strolls through one of the most fascinating but least known stories of modern Europe.
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