Architect
Pekka Pitkänen
Competition
1963
Completion
1967
Category
Assembly buildings
Tags
Brutalism concrete DOCOMOMO Modernism religious sacral

Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Turku Cemetery was constructed based on the winning proposal of the architecture competition of a chapel and extension to the cemetery. The cemetery and landscape form a thought-out approach to the brutalist chapel. The front yard is used by the wake in a burial ceremony. The exterior is visible through large windows on the side of the building. Embankments and the grass field, with the large cross in the middle of it, resemble the Skogskyrkogården in Stockholm, designed by Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz.

Chapel of the Holy Cross is considered as one of the most significant modernist sacral sites in Finland. It is listed on the DOCOMOMO Finland registered selection of important architectural and environmental modernist sites. The chapel consists of three burial chapels, which all have different characteristics. There are 160 seats in the Large Chapel [Suuri kappeli]. The organs, with 16 sound sets, are placed on a balcony which has space for soloist and a small choir. The Small Chapel [Pieni kappeli], with a lighter atmosphere, has 50 seats. The Lower Chapel [Alakappeli] is situated on the basement floor. The basement is meant specifically for the reception of coffins, but it can also be used for ceremonies if there are only a few mourners.

Both the facades and main interior spaces are in concrete, partly as place-moulded, partly covered by prefabricated concrete plates. The altars and the pulpit of the large chapel are concrete monoliths, like a pedestal for an urn. Together with the concrete the sole materials are darkened bronze and oak. The only work of art in the chapel is the bronze sculpture De profundis by sculptor Essi Renvall.

Text: Mikko Laaksonen

Location

Skarppakullantie 2, Turku
60.4296154, 22.312697

Images

Chapel of The Holy Cross and the surrounding landscape form a complete art-work, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Chapel of The Holy Cross and the surrounding landscape form a complete art-work, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© MFA)
Chapel of The Holy Cross and the surrounding landscape form a complete art-work, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Chapel of The Holy Cross and the surrounding landscape form a complete art-work, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Pekka Pitkänen)
Main entrance canopy, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Main entrance canopy, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Simo Rista)
Interior of the Small Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Interior of the Small Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Pekka Pitkänen)
Sacristy corridor, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Sacristy corridor, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Pekka Pitkänen / MFA)
Organs in the Large Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Organs in the Large Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Ola Laiho / MFA)
Detail of the interior, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Detail of the interior, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Ola Laiho / MFA)
Sculpture ”De Profundis” by Essi Renvall in the entrance hall, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Sculpture ”De Profundis” by Essi Renvall in the entrance hall, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Pekka Pitkänen)
Main entrance canopy , Chapel of the Holy Cross
Main entrance canopy , Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Mikko Laaksonen)
Entrance hall, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Entrance hall, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Mikko Laaksonen)
Interior of the Large Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Interior of the Large Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Mikko Laaksonen)
Interior of the Large Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Interior of the Large Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Mikko Laaksonen)
Model of the chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Model of the chapel, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Esa Piironen)
Site plan, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Site plan, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© Pekka Pitkänen / MFA)
Southern façade, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Southern façade, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© MFA)
Western façade, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Western façade, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© MFA)
Floor plan of the main floor, Chapel of the Holy Cross
Floor plan of the main floor, Chapel of the Holy Cross (© MFA)