National Library of Finland
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