Lahti graduated with a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Jyväskylä in 1971. A memorable experience during his studies was the summer spent digging in Pompeii, when he also learned Italian. Indeed, Italy became the destination of several summer car trips with a spouse and three sons.
Bay worked almost his entire career at the Alvar Aalto Museum. In 1973, he was elected the first director of the museum. When the Alvar Aalto Foundation was founded in 1998, Lahti was also appointed to its management.
Markku Lahti’s contribution to the construction of the Alvar Aalto Museum as an important player in his field both in Finland and internationally has been significant. In addition to this, he was actively involved in the development of art museum activities and the Finnish museum industry in general. Lahti had time to act e.g. Acting President of the Finnish Museum Association as Secretary General and a member of the Board.
In 1988, together with his colleague, museum director Jouko Heinonen, he published a book Basics of museology, which was one of the first textbooks in the field in our country. In addition, he held numerous positions of trust related to architecture, visual arts, and museology.
Over the years With this, Lahti became a key expert in the life and production of Alvar Aalto, who published numerous books on the subject and was also a sought-after lecturer abroad.
Lahti was always open to new ideas. This led, for example, to a series of international architecture and design symposia produced in the name of Alvar Aalto since 1979, as well as the establishment of summer schools of architecture.
Lahti was strongly influential in bringing Aalto’s home and studio located in Helsinki under the auspices of the Alvar Aalto Foundation. Lahti also made a key contribution to the acquisition of Aalto’s masterpiece, Maison Louis Carré, near Paris, through domestic negotiations.
As a co-worker Lahti was surprising, proactive and demanding at times, but usually encouraging due to his sense of humor.
He was a natural companion who was able to receive royals, heads of state, international star architects as well as ordinary citizens interested in Aalto and architecture, as well as Hanseatic people in exhibitions. Always properly and with the flexibility of the situation – following the traditions of Alvar Aalto, as he used to say.
Colleagues and partners knew Markku Lahti as an expert and gentleman, whose extensive knowledge and help could always be relied upon when needed.
After retiring, Lahti moved from Jyväskylä to Tampere with his wife Louna and focused on enjoying his house by the lake as a hospitable host and a warm stake for his eight grandchildren.
The authors are Markku Lahti’s son and long-term colleagues and friends.