Most of the world's population today live in large, vibrant, energetic and sometimes chaotic cities. This is why, usually, when we think of taking some time off from our responsibilities and daily routines we picture ourselves lying in virgin beaches, relaxing in a faraway forest, or immersed in a tropical jungle.
Traveling around Japan can be an impressive experience for a Western tourist - especially if they have some connection with architecture. In addition to the huge cultural differences, the country is known for its rich architectural production - eight of the 42 Pritzker Prize laureates are Japanese - which has maintained its consistency since the 1960s.
Airports require architectural solutions that not only respond to the efficiency of their spaces and circulations - both operational and passenger - but also to their connection with other transport systems and terminals.
Modernism always wanted to have it both ways: on the one hand, modernist architecture was supposed to be, in theory, the same in all places; that's one reason why modernism in architecture was also called the International Style. If all modernist buildings look the same, when you see one you have seen them all: no need for further travel. Yet throughout the 20th century modernist culture and technology enthusiastically endorsed and favored travel. In the 60s we traveled to the Moon, and civil aviation made the world smaller. In modernist culture, travel was good. It made all travelers better, happier humans. It was good to learn foreign languages and to go see distant places. High modernist travel was not only good; it was also cool. The jet setters of the 60s were the coolest citizens of the world. Even later in the 20th century the general expectation was that borderless, seamless travel would keep getting easier and more frequent. Most Europeans of my generation grew up learning two or more foreign languages, and it was not unusual until recently to be born in one country, to study in another, and find one's first job in a third one. That was seen as an opportunity, not as a deprivation.
Finnish architect Alvar Aalto was a pioneer of modern architecture and design, especially in his use of organic, naturally derived materials. When he decided to embark on a career as an architect, he traveled to Helsinki, the only place where he could find academic training in the profession. His journey did not end there, however, as his work can be seen around the world. Here, we have mapped out 20 of his most notable works that must be seen up close and in-person to truly be appreciated.
As architects, we are on an endless journey of discovery, open to new experiences that fuel our creativity. We explore our surroundings and beyond, we travel to expand our views and open our mind, being often exposed to the unexpected. All these experiences are stored in our mental hard drive until the inspiration moment comes, drawing random non-linear connections between them and putting us into a state of divergent thinking, from where new ideas appear.