Friday, September 11, 2009

Reima Pietila

Reima Pietila (1923-1993) was one of Finlands most influential architects. Together with Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) he established a strong school of organic design in Finland, especially in the field of architecture.

During much of his life Modern architecture was dominated by the school of thought which held that buildings should be constructed out of "pure" forms which held no relation to where they were constructed, or what functions they housed.

Pietila believed that architecture should be created out of a strong sense for the Spirit of Place (Genius Loci), and that the forms of buildings can and should express the unique activities which they shelter and support.

Although he often encounterd a lot of opposition to his approach to design, resulting in several periods of unemployment, during his lifetime Pietila was able to design a series of remarkably beautiful buildings, such as the Finnish Embassy in India, the Residence of the President of Finland in Mantyniemi, several large churches, a library and various residential buildings.

Although the buildings which he designed have universal appeal, they also express something uniquely Finnish in their design and details. One can sense the living presense of the Spirit of Finland in his work.

I hope to return to Finland soon to visit all these beautiful places in person.

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