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Viipuri Library. photo: Jussi Rautsi

Laura Berger’s dissertation on the Viipuri Library 28 September 2018

28 September 2018 at 12:00–14:00
Aalto University Undergraduate Centre, Hall E
Otakaari 1, Espoo


MA Laura Berger will defend her thesis The Building that Disappeared. The Viipuri Library by Alvar Aalto on Friday 28 September. Her opponent is Professor Robert Beauregard of Columbia University and the custos is Professor Pirjo Sanaksenaho of Aalto University. The discussion will be held in English.

The research introduces the ‘life’ of Viipuri Library, and enquires how is it that this one building has raised interest throughout its existence, having achieved a role as something much more than ‘just a building’.

Viipuri City Library in Vyborg, Russia is both an important example of modern architecture and a building that has historically been the topic of discussion due to its geopolitical location. By examining a building like this, the thesis ponders the question of what is it that buildings ‘do’. The research is based on extensive use of archive material as well as an anthropological theory of ‘distributed object’ – a material object that can represent notions larger and more abstract than itself.

Laura Berger’s academic background is in archaelogy and anthropology (BA University of Cambridge, MA University College London). Her academic publications include topics such as Alvar Aalto’s works and the exchange of ideas concerning architecture and urban planning between Finland and Estonia during the Soviet period.

The published dissertation is placed for public display at the Harald Herlin Learning Center (Otaniementie 9, 2nd floor), at latest 10 days before the defence date.

More information on the event here.
The full thesis is available here.