Perhaps modern architecture never missed a beat after the mid-20th century in Finland. At least that is what you might conclude from a small but engaging exhibit currently at the Scandinavia House in New York City. "Sacral Space: Modern Finnish Churches" includes a dozen houses of worship built in Finland between the late 1930s and today (the latest one is currently under construction in Turku). They are sleek and modern, filled with ethereal light, with clean lines and spare spaces.
One work by Alvar Aalto is included, the Church of the Three Crosses in Imatra (1959), with his trademark complex dialogue between plan and section. One of the most beautiful in its asceticism is the Vatiala Chapel in Kangasala (1960), designed by Viljo Revell. This funeral chapel creates a bridge over water, symbolizing the passage from one life to the next. The 1961 Hyvinkaa Church, designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori is a play of triangles, in both plan and section.
All of the photos in the exhibit were taken by photographer Jari Jetsonen, whose work carries the show. There is also a catalogue, with project commentary by the architectural historian Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen (who is married to the photographer). If you find yourself in New York City before February 20, 2005, drop in to see the exhibit at 58 Park Avenue.
Your New York correspondent,
Michael J. Crosbie