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Finnish Line

Colorado College to host two Finnish architects



Regardless of whether you've attended any of Colorado College's ongoing Landscape and the Built Environment lecture series, you won't want to miss this Tuesday's "Finnish Landscapes and Light."

Traveling all the way from Norway, architect Raili Pietila will discuss some of the extraordinarily prescient works of organic regional modernism she and her husband, the late Reima Pietila, designed including the Dipoli Conference Center in Otaniemi, the Tampere Main Library, and the residence of the president of Finland.

What's most stunning about their buildings, and what makes them more relevant today than they were during the heights of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, was their rejection of the internationally ubiquitous, hyperfunctionally minimal styles of boxy building, while fully embracing the design demanded by the regional context. For the Pietilas, towering glass boxes just didn't seem relevant to the Finnish landscape or its culture, so they redefined modern architecture, creating forms that were both stunningly new and indigenous to Nordic light, land and culture.

One of their most striking buildings, the Tampere Main Library, for example, was both defiantly futuristic and organic with its stylized billowing reminiscent of both mushrooms and UFOs.

Also accompanying Pietila will be Aino Niskanen, a Finnish architect who teaches architecture at the Helsinki Technical University. Niskanen will lecture on "Nature in the Work of Alvar Aalto," another prominent Finnish architect, the following night.

--Noel Black

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