Both everyday experience and scientific knowledge have demonstrated the great power of the environment to influence not only our emotions and behaviour but also our well-being and health. There is also reason to believe that intuitive preference exerts a significant influence on choice of apartment. Environmental preferences have been studied widel...
Designed by Alvar Aalto for the author Göran Schildt and his wife Christine, Villa Skeppet is a detached house completed in 1970. The Schildts were personal friends of Aalto, and Göran Schildt is known as the author of Alvar Aalto’s biography. The Schildts lived the majority of any given year on the Greek Island of Leros, spending only short periods at a time in Villa Skeppet. The subject of research for this master’s thesis was proposed by the Christine and Göran Schildt Foundation, which also supported the work and provided me with a residence adjacent to the villa itself. The thesis work was done during a period of time in which Christine Schildt, the sole resident of the villa, relocated elsewhere. This master’s thesis studies Villa Skeppet as a home: what kind of dwelling it has been for its inhabitants, and how its architecture contributes to their well-being. The thesis is a qualitative study that utilises the theory and research outcomes of environmental psychology. The body of data is based on interviews and the author’s documentation of the building as well as archive material from both the Alvar Aalto museum and Christine and Göran Schildt Foundation. This study of Villa Skeppet as a building and as a home is divided in three parts. I begin by using archive material to describe its design process and approach Villa Skeppet as a detached house among Alvar Aalto’s body of work. In the interview chapter I first discuss design with Tore Tallqvist, who was the architect in charge of design and construction oversight of Villa Skeppet while working in Aalto’s architectural practice. The second interview with co commissioner and inhabitant Christine Schildt reveals the experience of living in Villa Skeppet and what kind of a home it has been for its inhabitants. Lastly I study Villa Skeppet as a dwelling and a home, examining the experience of living in the villa as a holistic whole from the theoretical framework of environmental psychology. This examination has been divided into four parts: (1) what emotions Villa Skeppet’s architecture evokes; (2) what actions its architecture encourages; (3) what kinds of social interactions its architecture steers toward and what manner of social expectations it reinforces; and lastly (4) how an inhabitant can express selfness through the building and instill the house with personal significances. In the light of the material at hand it becomes clear that Aalto’s persona is inseparable from Villa Skeppet and that it represents both inhabitants with differing roles for home. The building’s functional and architectural properties exist in relation to the living room that is elevated from the rest of the house. Life in Villa Skeppet has also been influenced by the curiosity of the general populace towards Alvar Aalto’s work. This thesis provides a glimpse into living in an architecturally renowned building, and into the properties and qualities of a inhabitant centered home. Keywords: Alvar Aalto, dwellings, environmental psychology, housing, Villa Skeppet