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News, 4/30/2010

Architecture and Light in Finland

light space coverTakashi Koizumi, architect and Professor of Kyushu Sangyo University, recently gave a lecture based on his visual book “Light Space in Finland” published last August from Petit Grand Publishing. He talked about Finnish architecture, showing magnificent pictures that were taken by him. The event was organized by SADI, The Scandinavian Architecture and Design Institute of Japan, which gathered a full house of interested audience.

Architect KoizumiProfessor Koizumi, an architect graduate from the Tokyo University of Science, was in Finland for 9 months during 2006~2007 when he was visiting researcher at the Helsinki University of Technology. His subject of research has been the role of light in building design, and he quite naturally became interested in Scandinavian architecture, which has different appearances during the summer of “white nights” and winter of  “kaamos” (days when the sun doesn’t rise). Koizumi studied the way the Finns try to capture light in the most effective, beautiful way. As an architect coming from Japan, he was also intrigued with the low solar altitude, which gives an extraordinary, dramatic effect to the dimensions and depths of the buildings and the surrounding space.

Many slides were shown during the lecture, varying from the World Heritage old wooden church in Petäjävesi, to modern works done by famous Finnish architects including Alvar Aalto, Reima Pietilä and Juha Leiviskä. Not so well-known places were introduced as good “tourist spots” like the Social Insurance Institution’s Main Building designed by Aalto, which has fabulous interior design utilizing light most skillfully.

Ressurection ChurchKoizumi shared with the audience some personal episodes, such as when he went to have a photo session at the Chapel of the Resurrection in Turku designed by Erik Bryggman. It is considered to be the most beautiful church in Scandinavia among national romantic architecture, as Koizumi’s photo of the altar showered with sun light proves. This, however, was a place of difficulty. He visited the church after checking the weather forecast many times, but in vain. It turned out he could not get satisfactory photos during his term as visiting researcher; the ones compiled in the book were taken when he visited Finland again in the summer of 2007.  

There must have been many other cases when Koizumi repeatedly visited the venues, biding time until the right moment when the light had its most beautiful effect on the buildings. “At first, I waited many hours, hoping to take good pictures,” he admitted. “But after a while, it didn’t matter much. I began to feel happy just to be there. This feeling of contentment is what I think is important.”

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Updated 4/30/2010

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