In 1938, Bryggman won a two-phase architectural competition for Turku parish funerary chapel with the proposal “Sub specie aeternitatis” [From the perspective of the eternal]. The Resurrection Funerary Chapel is concidered one of Bryggman’s key works.

The chapel is approached by ascending a flight of low steps. A colonnaded portico gives shelter to the entrance, and the main chapel space is accessed through an intermediate space, the vestibule. The chapel narrows slightly down towards the altar. The barrel-vaulted concrete ceiling and walls are divided into stepped bays.

Light falls on the choir and altar from a tall antique glass window, which is not visible from the entrance. The choir is narrower than the nave. The right side of the nave lowers down into a colonnaded side aisle, which opens up throughout its length towards the verdant cemetery. The pews are placed at a 56 degree angle in regards to the north wall, which directs the gaze of the mourners towards the outside view. The floor is of highly polished terrazzo. The escort route leading through the glass wall to the cemetery is clad in sandstone and decorated with reliefs by Jussi Vikainen.

In the 1930s the appropriateness of modernist architecture in ecclesiastical buildings was much disputed. With the Resurrection Chapel Bryggman established modernism’s position in church design by adding references to both classicism and medieval churches.

The chapel was renovated in 1984 by Laiho–Pulkkinen–Raunio (LPR) Architects.

Resurrection Chapel is listed on the DOCOMOMO Finland registered selection of important architectural and environmental modernist sites.

Text: Mikko Laaksonen

Location

Hautausmaantie 21, Turku
60.4353955, 22.3118445

Images

Floor plan, Resurrection Chapel
Floor plan, Resurrection Chapel (© MFA)
The entrance portico refers to Sigurd Lewerentz’s Resurrection Chapel (1925) in Stockholm, Resurrection Chapel
The entrance portico refers to Sigurd Lewerentz’s Resurrection Chapel (1925) in Stockholm, Resurrection Chapel (© Milla Järvipetäjä / Bryggman Institute)
Gateway between the chapel and the mortuary, Resurrection Chapel
Gateway between the chapel and the mortuary, Resurrection Chapel (© Milla Järvipetäjä / Bryggman Institute)
View from the nave towards the altar, Resurrection Chapel
View from the nave towards the altar, Resurrection Chapel (© Ola Laiho / Bryggman Institute)
The coffin escort route through the side aisle door with reliefs by sculptor Jussi Vikainen proved out to be too narrow for six bearers, Resurrection Chapel
The coffin escort route through the side aisle door with reliefs by sculptor Jussi Vikainen proved out to be too narrow for six bearers, Resurrection Chapel (© V.A.Wahlström / MFA)
Relief at the entrance by Jussi Vikainen (1907–1992), Resurrection Chapel
Relief at the entrance by Jussi Vikainen (1907–1992), Resurrection Chapel (© Milla Järvipetäjä / Bryggman Institute)
The pulpit. The intarsia work and decorations for the baldachin were designed by Erik Bryggman, Resurrection Chapel
The pulpit. The intarsia work and decorations for the baldachin were designed by Erik Bryggman, Resurrection Chapel (© Ola Laiho / Bryggman Institute)
Room for the bereaved, furniture by Erik Bryggman, Resurrection Chapel
Room for the bereaved, furniture by Erik Bryggman, Resurrection Chapel (© Ola Laiho / Bryggman Institute)
West gable and belfry, Resurrection Chapel
West gable and belfry, Resurrection Chapel (© Ola Laiho / Bryggman Institute)
South elevation towards the war cemetery, Resurrection Chapel
South elevation towards the war cemetery, Resurrection Chapel (© MFA)
Interior perspective for the second phase of the competition, Resurrection Chapel
Interior perspective for the second phase of the competition, Resurrection Chapel (© MFA)
Bryggman’s sketch for the placement of the altar wall painting by Aarne Niinivirta (1906–1942), not implemented, Resurrection Chapel
Bryggman’s sketch for the placement of the altar wall painting by Aarne Niinivirta (1906–1942), not implemented, Resurrection Chapel (© MFA)

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