The 100th anniversary of author Göran Schildt‘s (1917–2009) birth is celebrated this year in the beautiful coastal town of Tammisaari*. Next to the seaside park there is Villa Skeppet designed by Alvar Aalto for the Schildts as well as an old yellow wooden house known as Villa Schildt.
This summer, Villa Schildt is hosting two small exhibitions, one of which features Schildt’s own black and white photographs from the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to writing, Schildt was an active photographer and the Christine and Göran Schildt Foundation has a collection of some 10,000 photographs.
The opening ceremony of this year’s summer exhibition was held, as always, in the garden with charming Mrs Christine Schildt welcoming the invited guests at the gate. The guests usually include both local residents and friends of the foundation and the Schildts as well as experts in architecture and the Mediterranean culture.
In her opening speech, Christine Schildt also told about the recently opened exhibition at Jyväskylä’s Alvar Aalto Museum dedicated to the friendship between Aalto and Schildt and reminded everyone about the Göran Schildt Regatta held from 10 to 14 September on the Mediterranean Sea.
The small photography exhibition serves as a reminder of art historian, author and cultural personality Schildt’s versatile career and does not forget his friends either. Among them were the Aaltos and, for example, philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright who, in a photo selected for the exhibition, is enjoying the refreshing water of a French canal.
The other exhibition is related to the Schildts’ house, Villa Kolkis, on the Greek island of Leros where Mr Schildt wrote many of his books. There were no drawings for the villa that represents the local building practice and style. Architecture student Iris Andersson from Aalto University chose the villa as her master’s thesis topic and as part of her thesis she has measured and thoroughly examined the building. She has also familiarised herself with Schildt’s texts and analysed the meaning of space, light and atmosphere in the villa. The exact drawings have been prepared with care by hand, which is a skill worth preserving in our computerised world.
Andersson has also painted aquarelles and a few of them are on display at the exhibition. The most interesting part of the thesis is, however, the book with the author’s own thoughts in the form of essays as well as photographs and an interview with Christine Schildt.
In her thesis, Andersson reflects on the true meaning of architecture. This is why she knowingly wanted to end up in a remote location, which is however also the place where, for example, the manuscripts of Schildt’s Aalto biographies were largely written.
The beautifully illustrated book with reflective texts is still waiting for a publisher but visitors can browse through it in the small exhibition room. Here is an excerpt from the book’s short preface:
“A short-sighted approach to construction based on efficiency and the builders’ budget calculations spreads like an alien species. It takes over vacant and unspoiled patches of land. It is abandoning humans. Therefore, it is valuable to address the fundamental questions of architecture. A trip to a remote area offers a spark for this mindset.”
The lovely exhibitions will be open until late August. A visit to Villa Schildt, owned by the Christine and Göran Schildt Foundation, can also be combined with a reflective walk to the nearby Ramsholmen. With its noble trees Ramsholmen also offers a feeling of something greater than our daily life.
Text Tarja Nurmi
*The municipality known as Tammisaari was established before Helsinki and is now officially called Raasepori.
Göran Schildt – Photographer
16 June – 20 August 2017
Itäinen rantakatu 7
Schildt & Aalto. Modern Humanists
2 June – 17 September 2017
Alvar Aalto Museum
Alvar Aallon katu 7