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BID TO SAVE AALTO MASTERPIECE

NEWS

A fundraising campaign has been launched to continue the restoration of one of Alvar Aalto's most important buildings, a library in the Russian border town of Vyborg, which was formerly Viipuri, the second-largest city in Finland.

Two British supporters of the library - Jeremy Melvin and Harry Charrington - have launched a bid to raise money in the UK to help with the restoration of the international Modernist masterpiece.

The building, completed in 1935, is considered by many to be one the most important buildings in the region and is now on World Monument Watch's 100 Most Endangered Sites list.

The British duo hopes to persuade practices and designers to sponsor chairs designed by Aalto and manufactured by Artek that would be used in the library.

The campaign - which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the building's completion in October - also aims to persuade companies to match the cash raised with a contribution to the actual renovation project.

The money would go towards repairing the extensive damage inflicted on the building following the fall of Viipuri into Soviet hands in 1940. Contrary to common perceptions, the building did not suffer badly from bombing during the Second World War.

Instead it fell into disrepair in the following decades through lack of care. After finding itself behind the Iron Curtain, the building was drastically damaged by a series of botched repairs by various local authorities keento simply keep it open as a working library.

However, local campaigners have now discovered that it is possible to restore the building to its original form and condition.

Vyborg architect Sergej Kravchenko has carried out a survey and uncovered the mistakes made by previous generations.

For further information, visit www.artek. fi/linked/pressen/ARTEK_ orderform. pdf or email harry.charrington@uwe. ac. uk

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