Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was strongly influenced by both the landscape of his native country, as well as the political struggle over Finland's place within European culture. After early neoclassical buildings, Aalto turned to ideas based on Functionalism, subsequently moving toward more organic structures, with brick and wood replacing plaster and steel. In addition to designing buildings, furniture, lamps, and glass objects with his wife Aino, he painted and was an avid traveler. A firm believer that buildings have a crucial role in shaping society, Aalto once said, "The duty of the architect is to give life a more sensitive structure."
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