Kaleva Church

One day in early spiring this year I was in Tampere for the day and had a couple of hours to spare so I thought I would revisit a great modern building that I feel is often a little neglected, maybe because it’s a little out the way or maybe because Aalvar Aalto casts such a long shadow over Finnish Architecture or maybe a little of both.

Kaleva Church by Reima and Raili Pietilä the result of an Architectural competition in 1959 won by Reima Pietilä and Raili Paatelainen and built in 1964-66. The building sits on a small hillock at the head of the convergence of two large roads both with postwar apartment blocks lining them.

The plan is immediately surprising and consists of a series of high and narrow concrete wings made from 17 35m high hollow concrete u shapes, with full height windows in-between.  Each of these concrete u’s are slightly different.

Malcolm Quantrill has written that the Kaleva Church is derived from the Christian fish symbol, generates a daring interior space, with the single-volume nave capturing a powerful, medieval sense of monumentality. I agree it captures a medieval like sense of monumentality but not about the fish symbolism. The fish symbolism appears to me to be a sop to the Christian church it houses, highly organic in nature it looks much more like a leaf. Look at the early sketches from the Pietilä’s and I think that seals it.

The massive concrete walls were meant originally to remain as bare concrete but I think that someone lost their nerve some part of the way through and pale sand coloured ceramic tiles were used to cover the building instead in an attempt to play along better with the apartment blocks it sits among. It looks a little like a poorly disguised Brutalist construction though I don’t think that label sits completely comfortably for this building. The central space and how it is conceived seems so inspired by nature and pays much attention to the play of natural light and space inside make it an exceptional building, one that inspires a feeling much like that in a medieval cathedral, although perhaps lighter and more naturally flavoured.

I know this building in Finland was a little controversial when it was built, some thought it to ‘natural’ and not modern enough or functional enough for the Finnish Architectural brand but as a church part of its function is to inspire and I find it does just this.

References:

Structures and Architecture: New concepts, applications and challenges´ edited by Paulo J. da Sousa Cruz’

Finnish Architecture and the Modernist Tradition By Malcolm Quantrill

Further Reading:

Pietilä’s Crystal for the Finnish President by Kati Blom

Gallery of Kaleva Church taken by me on Flickr

Kaleva Church on sosbrutalism.org

Week Review 6

Soviet era miners' cable car

Chiaturas’ extreme geography made the use of a cable car system widespread. Since the 50’s this soviet era system hasn’t had much work done on it.

In central Turkey, an ancient people dug, over 200 underground cities. The deepest of these, under the present day town of Derinkuyu, goes over 250 feet below the Earth’s surface.

Ross Langdon RIP.

The Brutalist masterpiece that is Preston Bus Station has gotten a reprieve from being knocked down.

Another post looking at mapping the age of buildings in different cities, a good overview here.

Week Review 2

spomenik#1

Photo above is from Spomenik #1 by Jan Kempenaers who took three years travelling to the remotest parts of former Yugoslavia to capture these strange monuments read about them here.

Did Atopia and not Thomas Heatherwick come up with the design of the 2012 Olympic flame cauldron? Heatherwick denies it but look at this from the Guardian article which broke the story

Locog has been disbanded, but its former design principle, Kevin Owens, described the situation as “unfortunate”. “Atopia really are forward thinkers,” he said. “Strands of their work became part of what was taken forward, and I wish there was a way we could acknowledge that.” Via

Atopia’s work looks the same and aside from a few details is also conceptually and functionally the same.

A lovely well put together website on Scottish Brutalism called Scottish Brutalism but they haven’t documented anything outside of Strathclyde yet, come on guys what’s keeping you?

Christoph Ingenhoven, Meinhard von Gerkan and Pierre de Meuron are all lightly grilled by Spiegel as to why their big German Architecture projects are so massively over cost. This is a must read, it’s so rare to see behind the curtain so to speak of projects which while being great Architecture have failed in some way to deliver otherwise, along the way there is some deep insight into team working in projects.

Berg | C.F. Møller’s proposed design is a 34-storey skyscraper made of wood. On deeper investigation though it has a concrete core!

Kone have invented a new carbon fibre lift cable which will make possible 1km high lifts double todays limit, effectively doubling the limit of skyscrapers in the process.

The New Aesthetic, if you name it you should own it.