Finland is known for a distinctive minimalist design and style aesthetic. The look is clean, functional, and beautiful. Each time I visit I am excited to envelop myself in this simple yet complex aesthetic. As luck would have it, on our last visit to Helsinki my husband and I were there on a Sunday which meant we got to attend church in one of the world’s most unusual chapels, Temppeliaukio Church (or “Rock Church”).
After a short metro ride from his aunt’s home, we wound our way into a quiet neighborhood. Kids were sledding in the fresh snow and my face was flushed from the cold air — all was perfect (especially since I hadn’t slipped yet). As we followed the sidewalk around the small center park, we noticed people gathering near the rocks. This had to be the church entrance, and it was!
In 1961, architects (and brothers) Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen won a design competition and set about to build their masterpiece, Temppeliaukio Church (consecrated in 1969), directly into a solid piece of granite rock (can’t beat Finnish determination).
They blasted out (from the inside no less) what would become the sanctuary and covered the chapel with a massive copper dome surrounded by 180 vertical glass window panes that connect the rock walls and copper roof allowing sunlight to stream in and warm the place.
This church has me singing its praises (couldn’t resist chiming that in!).
Details: Temppeliaukio Church, Lutherinkatu 3, Helsinki, Finland (Kampinmalmi)