January 13, 2009
by Jacqueline Pezzillo Assoc. AIA LEED AP

Event: “Belonging Together”
Location: Center for Architecture, 01.07.09
Speakers: Juha Leiviskä, Hon. FAIA — architect (Finland)
Organizers: AIANY; Consulate General of Finland

Best known for his church designs, the work of Finnish architect Juha Leiviskä, Hon. FAIA, creates a sense of experience throughout his work, featuring progression and deliberateness in the design of entry, circulation, and visual corridors. Recipient of the Carlsberg Prize, awarded to an architect “contributing to the creation of works of lasting architectural and social value,” Leiviskä’s prime concern in his work, ultimately, are the users of his buildings.

Leiviskä has a high regard for precedent, stating it is “important to be connected to history and tradition if our work is to be important in the future.” He attributes his esteem for nature and the environment to Alvar Aalto, who believed that nature is mutually supportive of architecture. The influence of Aalto can be seen throughout Leiviskä’s oeuvre. The transitions from outside to indoors via terraces and gardens are what he calls, “musical experiences.”

Leiviskä’s career is indelibly marked by his design of places of worship throughout Finland, such as Myyrmäki Church, St. Thomas’ Church and Parish Center, Kirkkonummi Parish Center, and Männistö Church. Each embodies his design language integrating both natural and artificial light, with his signature lamps suspended within each space of worship. The buildings are functional, the white interiors free of any ornament and “unnecessary detail.” Ultimately, he strives to achieve a harmony through Finnish Modernism by incorporating nature and the environment.

Jacqueline Pezzillo, LEED AP is the communications manager at Davis Brody Bond Aedas and a regular contributor to e-Oculus.

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