She was a Finnish architect and designer. She was born in Helsinki, and completed her school education in 1913 at the Helsingin Suomalainen Tyttökoulu (Helsinki Finnish Girls' School). She began studies in architecture that same year at the Institute of Technology, Helsinki, and qualified as an architect in 1920. That same year she went to work for architect Oiva Kallio in Helsinki. In 1923 she moved to the city of Jyväskylä to work in the office of architect Gunnar A. Wahlroos, but the following year switched to working in the office of architect Alvar Aalto when they got married. The Aaltos spent their honeymoon in northern Italy. It was common at that time for young architects in Scandinavia to travel to Italy to study the vernacular architecture, and it had a profound influence on Scandinavian architecture during the 1920s, including the Aaltos, flourishing in the so-called Nordic Classicism style. The Aaltos moved their office to Turku in 1927, and started collaborating with architect Erik Bryggman. The office moved again in 1933 to Helsinki, and they designed and built a joint house-office (1935–36) for themselves in Munkkiniemi, a suburb of Helsinki, but later (1954–55) had a purpose-built office built in the same neighbourhood. It is known that in the design work she concentrated more on the design of interiors (such as the world-famous Villa Mairea in Noormarkku of 1937-39), but also furniture (such as the Paimio Sanatorium of 1927-29). In 1935 the Aaltos, together with Mairea Gullichsen (chief client for the Villa Mairea) and Nils-Gustav Hahlin, founded Artek, a firm selling lighting fixtures and furniture designed by the Aaltos.