Back to the Future

architects Heikkinen-Komonen Architects, Juha Leiviskä, Juhani Pallasma, JKMM Architects
written by Petra Čeferin


The renowned architectural critic J. M. Richards described Finland in a BBC lecture of 1957 as “the best of both worlds”. He said that Finnish architects knew how to use prefabrication yet developed their individuality as artists; that they confronted architectural issues scientifically yet resolved them humanely; that their work was closely connected with the local context yet was never provincial.


Richards was actually paraphrasing Siegfried Giedion, the famous proponent of modernism, who had some years earlier used similar words to describe the most famous of Finnish architects, Alvar Aalto. In the second edition of his highly influential book Space, Time and Architecture he introduced Aalto as a great synthesist who was able to reconcile seemingly opposed principles: standardization with humane approach, scientific reasoning with artistic imagination, and the latest mechanical processes with the local elements of a region.