2015 JUL–AUG

Kristo Vesikansa

The Dipoli Gongress Center.

For many, the international icon of Finnish architecture in the 1960s was Alvar Aalto and his modernistic work. Among his contemporaries, Reima and Raili Pietilä also stand out as an influential, internationally recognized architect-couple. Architect Kristo Vesikansa is doing his doctoral thesis on the impact the husband and wife had on the international architectural landscape of the 60s and the 70s.

Vesikansa’s focus is on Dipoli, a conference center built in 1965 for the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. The expressionist building was designed by Reima and Raili Pietilä and it was influenced by international architectural trends of the time.  According to Vesikansa’s research, the Pietilä couple had undoubtedly the most comprehensive international network compared to their Finnish peers. Thus the design of Dipoli was an elemental effort in securing a foothold in the contemporary discourse.

During his stay in New York, Vesikansa focuses on going through the records of the vast networks between Reima and Raili Pietilä and their contemporary American peers. The works of Reima Pietilä were regularly published in U.S. architectural journals such as Perspecta and Progressive Architecture, which are excellent material for researching how interpretations of his work differed from those of other European architects’.

Kristo Vesikansa is FCINY’s artist-in-residence from July through August. In addition to going through the records of New York’s architectural libraries, he plans to mingle with local scholars exploring the same era.