I had wanted to draw this while we were on site, but the monk who was giving us a tour was moving at a brisk rate. This is the entrance pavilion to Aalto’s Library at Mount Angel, as previously featured here, and is worth featuring because of the inherent classicism of it all – strictly modular, rigidly symmetrical (minus that one angled wall on the right), with a well-coordinated ceiling plan, brick floor patterning, column placement, and door/storefront alignment. For the über-modernist Aalto, this is proof that his early education in Nordic Classicism never truly left. Details below.
Alvar Aalto has only three built structures in the United States: a dormitory at MIT, an interior on Manhattan, and a library at a Benedictine Abbey in Mount Angel, Oregon. These few drawings are my rapid attempt to distill some important moments from the Abbey library, which I visited on a recent trip up the Pacific coast: A section through the skylit split-level reading room, and a plan beneath; a detail section through a typical study desk, which run the length of the double-height spaces, eliminating a traditional guardrail; and a detailed plan of a glass partition at independent study carrels, with hollow-steel-section framing members and wood stops – a beautiful, humane, change to the typical Miesian system. There was so much more, but unfortunately so little time.