Advanced Nordic Articulation via Architecture [naava]

   Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

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  Dr Taina Rikala, Dr Frederic Huska  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The proposal takes as its point of departure the argument that what was written about Nordic 1960-70s architecture in the 1980s– early 2000s, and photography accompanying it, was circumscribed by particular genres found in British architectural journalism. Ring-fenced by a style of academic theorising impenetrable to most readers, the buildings have been long forgotten. Discursive rhetoric set a barrier to engagement. Simultaneous but not co-determinant, visual conventions of photography departed from the lived effect of the building serving to portray architecture devoid of context and affect.

The aim is to stray off that path, away from established interpretative modes that dictated architectural discourse in the third-quarter of the Twentieth Century that were either overly structured through established genealogies such that work was not easily recognised, or intentionally misguided the reader/viewer away from the building into theorised bewilderment and enigma.

Intellectual self-identification of some British critics and theorists writing at the time lead to a misdirection of the work–– and a temporary loss of appeal of architecture. This project shares the objective to frame the significant impact of select buildings. Finland saw in the decade of the 1960s an essentialist search for cultural meaning and identity spearheaded in part by Norwegian historian Christian Norberg-Schulz’s writings: Finnish cultural responsiveness to genius loci was to be found in the native forests. Motifs and cliches persist.

One can also observe the style and stylization of photography established in the nineteen-fifties– sixties of the images used to present this building in the architectural press–– visual conventions that implied objectivity as an editorial tactic–– the standard depiction–– left the viewer wanting. Unaffected, non-atmospheric, uninhabited still images gave little back to those who might be interested in the architecture. The objective is to bring new interest in the image and architecture of the building.

While the project has its roots in Fine Art and architectural methodologies, it is embedded in cultural and conservation  themes. The collaborative method is unique in that it is cross-Faculty working together with RIBA Accredited Conservation Specialist. The collaboration of a Fine Art photographer, an architect, and historian–– the cross-pollenization–– will bring dynamic visual and arresting discussion to the cultural relevance of the image and the building, and an opportunity to bring mid-century architecture into ‘Conservation-thinking’.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Creative Arts & Design (9) History & Archaeology (19) Philosophy (28)


Broner-Bauer, Kaisa, "The Architecture of Raili and Reima Pietilä: A Strategy of Resistance", Form Function Finland 2, 1985: 20–27
"The Work of Raili and Reima Pietilä and Regionalism in Finland", in Architecture and Collective Memory, Seminar on Architecture and Urban Planning in Finland 1986, SAFA, Helsinki, 1986: 25–34
"Metso nousi suomalaisesta luonnosta", Raili ja Reima Pietilän suunnitteleman Tampereen uuden kirjastotalon esittely ja kriittinen arviointi, Aamulehti, 10.10.1986: 1, 12
"Vad viskar valven?", TA Tammerfors Aktuellt, no.18, vol. 14, 28.11.1986:5 "Pietilä, Reima", Otavan Suuri Ensyklopedia,. Täydennysosa 1, Helsinki, 1986:
"The Architecture of Raili and Reima Pietilä", Living Architecture 6, 1987: 84–89
Kenneth Frampton, “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architectural Regionalism”
Tim Ingold, “Bringing Things to Life” Creative Entanglements In a World of Materials” (2010)
Aino Niskonen, ”Pietilän toinen puoli” (2004)
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Reima Pietilä’s (Postmodern Morphologies) 2018

 About the Project