Recent historiographic research reveals the persistence of canonical histories of modern architecture. For example, Sigfried Giedion’s sixth edition of Space, Time and Architecture (1949) presents a poetic vision of Alvar Aalto as a man who had Finland with him wherever he went, and of Aino Aalto as “quiet as the Finnish lakes and forests from which she had sprung.”1 Giedion’s vision has continued to inform many subsequent texts, in the sense that his metaphors endure even when new information is found in previously unexamined sources. Published in the 1980s and early 1990s, Göran Schildt’s three books about Aalto’s life and work, written from a friend’s subjective point of view, have been difficult for...

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