Sacral Space: Modern Finnish Churches: an architectural exhibit and lecture series

Hughes Condon Marler Architects in collaboration with Emily Carr Institute’s Charles H. Scott Gallery presents Sacral Space: Modern Finnish Churches, an international exhibition with stops in Tokyo, New York, Washington DC, and Mexico City. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Finnish Architecture in collaboration with Tokyo Design Centre and the Church Resources Agency in Finland.

As the only Canadian presentation of this atmospheric exhibit, visitors can view photographs, videos and scale models of 12 strikingly modern and evocative churches built in Finland after World War II. It was during this time a large number of churches and chapels were built across Finland, and their construction brought together many of the country’s prominent architects, artists and interior designers to create extraordinary spaces in the new Finnish Modern style. Ethereal light, clean lines and sparse spaces unite these uniquely Finnish designs, Alvar Aalto’s Church of the Three Crosses among them. Built as a result of architectural competitions, these sleek monuments to modernism with feelings of nature and sparseness of ornamentation reinterpreted the way churches could look. Highlights such as Alvar Aalto’s Church of the Three Crosses, completed in 1958, and Kristian Gullichsen’s Kauniainen Church, 1983, prove that the faithful can be transported by beautiful modern architecture.

Featured buildings include: Resurrection Chapel, Turku (Erik Bryggman, 1939-41); Otaniemi Chapel, Espoo (Kaija and Heikki Siren, 1956-57, 1978); Church of the Three Crosses, Vuoksenniska (Alvar Aalto, 1955-58); Vatiala Chapel, Kangasala (Viljo Revell, 1957-60); Hyvink Church (Aarno Ruusovuori, 1958-61); Kaleva Church, Tampere (Raili and Reima Pietil, 1964-66); Temppeliaukio Church, Helsinki (Timo & Tuomo Suomalainen, 1968-69); The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Turku (Pekka Pitknen, 1965-67); Olari Church, Espoo (Kpy and Simo Paavilainen, 1979-81); Kauniainen Church (K. Gullichsen, 1979-83, Columbarium 1995-98); Church of St. John, Mnnist, Kuopio (Juha Leivisk, 1989-92); St. Henry’s Ecumenical Chapel, Turku (Matti Sanaksenaho 1995-).

The exhibit runs from June 10 to July 24 at the Emily Carr Institute Concourse Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Guided tours of the exhibit will be given on June 18, July 2, and July 16 at 1:00pm. For additional tour requests please contact Hughes Condon Marler at (604) 732-6620. A companion book to the exhibition called Sacral Space (142 pages, colour photos and illustrations) is published by Rakennustieto and will be available for purchase at the exhibit.

Free lectures accompany the exhibition, and will be held in the Emily Carr Institute Auditorium. The lectures are as follows:

The Latest in Finnish Church Architecture
Friday, June 10 at 6:00pm
Jari Jetsonen, Sacral Space photographer, presents the latest from Finland including some recently completed design competitions.

Alvar Aalto Houses
Monday, June 13 at 7:00pm
Jari Jetsonen presents select private houses designed by Alvar Aalto, whose Vuoksenniska Church is featured in Sacral Space.

Textiles in Sacral Space
Monday, June 20 at 7:00pm
Hanna Haapasalo and Kaija Rautiainen, Finnish fibre artists, present an overview of modern Finnish textiles custom-designed for churches.

Old and New Church Architecture in British Columbia
Monday, June 27 at 7:00pm
Barry Downs, Vancouver architect and author, presents a local perspective based on longstanding personal interest, research and writing.