Architect
Lars Sonck
Completion
1907
Category
Assembly buildings
Tags
art church Jugend - Art Nouveau stone

In Tampere Cathedral (formerly the Church of St John), Lars Sonck combined the ground-plans of the traditional central and long churches, creating an asymmetrical whole. Sonck subsequently adapted this design principle to other church projects. The facades of Tampere Cathedral are of rough-grained granite. Closely associated with the exterior architecture is a stone wall that encircles the church, complete with lodge buildings. The stone paving of the courtyard appears to continue on the walls, making reference to the idea of a Gesamtkunstwerk. The enormous ribbed vault of the church interior was, in structural terms, a new element in Finnish monumental architecture. In contrast to the grey walls, the frescos and stained glass, with their mediaeval references, glow with saturated colour. The painted decorations by the artist Hugo Simberg have a central place in the architecture of the church. The tower of Finström Church in Sonck’s home parish on the Aland Islands is considered to be the model for the iron-framed main tower. In addition to the Finnish mediaeval tradition, the building is influenced by German ecclesiastical architecture and by stone-cutting techniques from Aberdeen, Scotland. Sonck’s basic idea was to combine features of the mediaeval city with the material realism of national romanticism. The design ranges from the courtyard surrounding the church to the tiniest details of the interior.

Text: Juhana Lahti / 20th Century Architecture, MFA

Location

Tuomiokirkonkatu 3b, Tampere
61.5030815, 23.7687198

Images

Main façade, Tampere Cathedral
Main façade, Tampere Cathedral (© Heinrich Iffland / MFA)
Main entrance, Tampere Cathedral
Main entrance, Tampere Cathedral (© Simo Rista / MFA)
Church hall, Tampere Cathedral
Church hall, Tampere Cathedral (© Juhani Riekkola / MFA)
Church hall, Tampere Cathedral
Church hall, Tampere Cathedral (© Patrik Rastenberger / MFA)
Detail of a decoration, Tampere Cathedral
Detail of a decoration, Tampere Cathedral (© Patrik Rastenberger / MFA)
Original drawing, Tampere Cathedral
Original drawing, Tampere Cathedral (© MFA)
Original drawing, Tampere Cathedral
Original drawing, Tampere Cathedral (© MFA)
Floor plan, Tampere Cathedral
Floor plan, Tampere Cathedral (© MFA)
Elevation, Tampere Cathedral
Elevation, Tampere Cathedral (© MFA)