Mid-Century Modern Architects

  • Born in Kuortane, Finland on 3 February 1898; died in Helsinki, Finland on 11 May 1976.
  • Aalto was a man of many hats known for his work as an architect, industrial designer (furniture, lighting, glassware, textiles), painter and sculpture.
  • He was known for complete design, working on both the structure of a building and its interior.
  • Well-known Aalto designs include the Aalto Vase or Savoy Vase, which was Aalto’s winning design from a glass design competition hosted by Karhula-Iittala in 1936. The vase was shown at the 1937 Paris World Exposition.
  • He often worked with his wife, architect Aino Aalto (née Marsio).
  • The city of Jyväskylä, Finland is home to a museum solely dedicated to Alvar Aalto.

West Coast Mid-Century Modern Architects

  • Born in Medicine Hat, Alberta 10 Feb 1909; died in Vancouver 16 Mar 1976.
  • Bertram Charles Binning, who built one of Vancouver’s first modernist houses, began as a painter, and was influenced by the likes of William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus school.
  • Appointed to Vancouver School of Art in 1934, and to the University of British Columbia School of Architecture in 1949.
  • Soon after he founded the Department of Fine Arts (and became involved in the “Art in Living Group,”), which he headed for a quarter century.
  • Notable works include mural for Imperial Bank of Commerce, and the colour scheme for downtown Vancouver’s B.C. Electric Building, and Dal Grauer Substation.
  • Worked closely with architects C.E. Pratt and R.A.D. Berwick in constructing his now famous historic residence built in 1941 on Mathers Crescent. Binning’s home was also something of a mid-century salon, with writers, artists and architects, including Ron Thom and Arthur Erickson, coming there to mingle and be inspired.
  • Pioneered and advocated for the development of a contemporary residential building vocabulary that was economical in construction and sensitive to its setting.