Pietilä’s pavilion | José Ramón Hernández Correa

Finnish pavilion of the Expo de Bruselas in 1958, Reima Pietilä

The Finnish architect Reima Pietilä, whose better work is maybe the Students’ Center Dipoli, of Espoo (about which we will speak another day), was announced by the Finnish pavilion of the Expo of Brussels of 1958. (Good exhibition. Remember that already we speak about the Spanish pavilion. But there are others very interesting all those, about whom maybe it is worth speaking in other occasions. Already we will see).

At first this pavilion of youth does not prefigure the work of maturity (of a few years later). Or yes? I do not know it. But something becomes to me simpler to deal and, maybe, of explaining (or of explaining it to me itself).

Pietilä gained the contest of the pavilion in 1957, four years after having obtained the architect’s title, and still very influenced by the school. There they had made him work on Theo van Doesburg‘s theories, and had made him think about the modulation and about the plasticity of the right angle.

In his pavilion a ferreous modulation used, but not esclavizadora. That is to say, he took advantage of the advantages of the modulation to control the forms and the structure, but it did not fall down in the inflexibility, but it could form an expressive and fluid space.

It demonstrated that it had wanted to do a natural and intellectual architecture simultaneously, and it, in certain way, it characterizes all his work: A species of “organic rationalism” or of “organicismo rational”, what him emparenta with the great patriarch Alvar Aalto.

Also he says that it wants to do a “Finnish architecture”. One does not know what wants to say it, but it sees wood and imagines that it will have to see something.

’un desafío a la arquitectura moderna’ en la sala de la fundación ICO
Model of the Finnish Pavilion of the Expo of Brussels of 1958 | Exhibition ” A challenge to the modern architecture ” in the room of the fundation ICO

( I do not know why, but it of using the modular, geometric, simple structure, to create a natural, free and expressive space, I think that it might apply also to the Spanish pavilion. And it is that probably Corrales and Molezún also have something of Finns).

The pavilion is formed by parallelepipedic staggered “clusters”, which within generate the only and constant space whereas externally they appear as a fragmented volume.

Pabellón finlandés de la Expo de Bruselas de 1958
Finnish pavilion of the Expo of Brussels of 1958

The skin of wood is “very “hot”, “cozy” and all that. Already you know: finn.

And, nevertheless, though they have different expressions, the interior and the exterior are not contradicted.

Pabellón finlandés de la Expo de Bruselas de 1958 , Reima Pietilä | Fuente: Fundación ICO
Interior of the Finnish pavilion of the Expo of Brussels of 1958, Reima Pietilä | Source: Fundation ICO

The interior space is constant because it has put on a false sloping ceiling of wood, which it turns into continuity and unit what from was turns out to be discontinuous and with courts and jumps.

This double game is going to serve us to study this most interesting architect. The very rascal one organizes systematic and very rigorous structures, which allow him to play with a space that often seems to contradict them; but what happens actually is that his intellect and they lead his reason to putting on the easy things to be able to play without risk of shipwreck.

Pabellón de Finlandia para la Exposición Internacional de Bruselas de 1958 (1956-58)
Pavilion of Finland for the International Exhibition of Brussels of 1958 (1956-58) | Source: lostonsite.wordpress.com

Pietilä can swim and guard the clothes.

I read that this Pietilä’s pavilion, between so many magnificent pavilions of that Expo, was considered to be the best. Do not be for whom. Do not be if it was a species of official title., with everything, I like more the Spanish. I think that the brilliant idea of Corrales and Molezún solves in a simplest and more intelligent way all the solicitations and requirements. This Finn yes is “showier”.

Pabellón de Finlandia para la Exposición Internacional de Bruselas de 1958 (1956-58)
Plant and gathering of the Pavilion of Finland for the International Exhibition of Brussels of 1958 (1956-58)

But it is a question neither of fighting nor to compete.

Let’s remain us, first, with the discovery of a very important architect but that every time is known and estimates less. Who you did not know it be useful to look for his things. Already you will see how it is worth it.

Reima Pietilä con su esposa Raili, con quien hizo casi todas sus obras. Foto: MFA
Reima Pietilä with his wife Raili, with whom it did almost all his works | Photo: MFA

José Ramón Hernández Correa · PhD Architect
Toledo · april 2012
Author of the blog arquitectamoslocos?

José Ramón Hernández Correa

Nací en 1960. Arquitecto por la ETSAM, 1985. Doctor Arquitecto por la Universidad Politécnica, 1992. Soy, en el buen sentido de la palabra, bueno. Ahora estoy algo cansado, pero sigo atento y curioso.

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