Elissa Aalto

Elissa Aalto (22 November 1922, Kemi – 12 April 1994, Helsinki; born Elsa Kaisa Mäkiniemi) was a Finnish architect.[1]

Elissa Aalto
Elissa Aalto in 1959
Elsa Kaisa Mäkiniemi

22 November 1922
Kemi, Finland
Died12 April 1994(1994-04-12) (aged 71)
Helsinki, Finland
Alma materHelsinki University of Technology
Spouse(s)Alvar Aalto
(m. 1952–76; his death)
ProjectsAalto Theatre
Rovaniemi Town Hall


She graduated in architecture from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1949, and the same year she joined the office of Alvar Aalto. They married in 1952, when she was 29 and he was 54, and they had no children together. At the time of their marriage Aalto was involved in the construction of the Säynätsalo Town Hall, and it was during that time that he acquired a nearby lakeside island plot where he built a summer home - the so-called Experimental House - for himself and his new wife. She was involved in all competition projects the office undertook, and after Alvar Aalto's death in 1976 she managed the office and completed the unfinished projects, such as the Essen Opera House. She was also involved in alteration projects and the restoration of Aalto buildings, including the Rovaniemi Town Hall. She donated Aalto's drawings to the Alvar Aalto Foundation to make the material available for researchers.[1] Elissa Aalto died in 1994,[1] and was buried in Hietaniemi cemetery, in Helsinki, with her husband.


  1. ^ a b c Virtanen, Berit: "Obituary: Elissa Aalto", in The Independent, 23 April 1994

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