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Fundacion ICO Presents the Architecture of Raili and Reima Pietila
A visitor looks at one of the projects on view in the exhibition. Photo: EFE/Juan M. Espinosa.
MADRID.- The architecture of Raili (born 1926) and Reima (1923–1993) Pietilä, which became world famous during the 1960s, is experiencing a second coming in this exhibition, which uses original drawings to present the work of the husband and wife team in the form of some previously unseen designs and others that have attained iconic status in the history of architecture. A host of sketches shows, in a fascinating way, how in their search for design solutions every possible alternative is of equal value to start with, until eventually, the buildings acquire their final forms – forms which stretch the boundaries of modern architecture. The various models give the visitor an opportunity to observe, for example, how the architecture of the President’s Official Residence, Mäntyniemi (1983–93), evolved from the competition-winning proposal to the finished building.

At the same time as the Pietiläs began searching for a way forward for modern architecture, Reima Pietilä who was an active speaker and writer, began to enrich the potential of language as an instrument for understanding architectural problems. Both the exhibition and even more so the book of the same name, which has been published in conjunction with the exhibition, bring out Reima Pietilä’s inexhaustibly inquisitive and often playful explorations of the world of language and architecture. In a series of new articles, frontline architectural writers Juhani Pallasmaa, Aino Niskanen, Olli-Paavo Koponen and Kati Blom present viewpoints on the pluralistic world of Reima Pietilä, the challenger of modern architecture, that are shorn of the mystique often associated with him.

Thanks to Raili and Annukka Pietilä’s donation to the Museum of Finnish Architecture of the entire Pietilä drawing archive plus some other material, it has been possible to compile an illustrated and annotated catalogue of works for the new publication that is as comprehensive as possible. In addition to such world-famous buildings as Dipoli (1966), the Metso public library in Tampere (1985) and Suvikumpu (1969–82), the complexity and richness presented in the catalogue, not to mention the exhibition and the other material, brings the Pietiläs once more into the centre of the ever-topical problem field of the potential of architecture.

Fundacion ICO | Raili and Reima Pietila | Architecture |

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