Juha Leiviskä

Juha Leiviskä
Born (1936-03-17) March 17, 1936
Helsinki, Finland
Nationality Finnish
Occupation Architect
Awards Pro Finlandia Medal (1992)
Prince Eugen Medal (1994)
Carlsberg Architectural Prize (1995)
Antonio Feltrinelli Prize (2008)
Practice Arkkitehtitoimisto Helander-Leiviskä
Buildings Myyrmäki Church, Vantaa
Männistö Church, Kuopio
German Embassy, Helsinki
Ad-Dar Centre, Bethlehem
Design JL341 Pendant Light
Helsinki City Transport Bus and Tram Stop Shelter

Juha Ilmari Leiviskä (born 17 March 1936 in Helsinki) is a prominent architect from Finland.

Myyrmäki Church, Vantaa, 1984.
Myyrmäki Church, plan compositional analysis.

Life and career

The son of engineer Toivo Ilmari Leiviskä and teacher Sonja Jämsén-Astala, Leiviskä studied architecture at Helsinki University of Technology, qualifying as an architect in 1963. He established his own office in 1964, while also working as a teaching assistant at Helsinki University of Technology.

Leiviskä also worked with architect Bertel Saarnio, and together they won the architectural competition for the Kouvola Town Hall (1964–68), regarded as one of the most significant public buildings in Finland during the 1960s, and brought much critical attention to the young architect.

Leiviskä came to international attention during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with designs for churches in different parts of Finland, each employing a similar design language. His mature style combines the sensitivity to the dramatics of natural light of German Baroque churches, with compositional principles of Dutch De Stijl architecture of the 1920s, for instance in the way series of parallel, free-standing walls can define space yet deconstruct traditional notions of enclosure. An integral part of the architecture of the churches has been the lamps designed by Leiviskä himself. The lamps have been taken up as part of the lamps sold by the Artek company, also responsible for marketing the lamps designed by Alvar Aalto.

Leiviskä has a joint architect's office in Helsinki with architect Vilhelm Helander - Vilhelm Helander, Juha Leiviskä arkkitehdit SAFA.


Architecture is closer to music than to the visual arts. To qualify as architecture, buildings, together with their internal spaces and their details, must be an organic part of the environment, of its grand drama, of its movement and of its spatial sequences. To me, a building as it stands, "as a piece of architecture" is nothing. Its meaning comes only in counterpoint with its surroundings, with life and with light.
Juha Leiviskä, Architecture and Urbanism, (April 1995) p. 13[1]


Leiviskä was made a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in 1991. In 1992 he received Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, and was appointed as an 'Artist Professor' by the Finnish President.[2] In 1994 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and awarded the Prince Eugen Medal the same year.[3] He was awarded the prestigious Carlsberg Prize in architecture in 1995. In 1997 Leiviskä followed Alvar Aalto and Reima Pietilä in becoming the architecture Member of the Academy of Finland - thus bestowing on him the title of Akateemikko (Academician). In 2008 he was awarded the international Antonio Feltrinelli Prize by Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

A selection of buildings by Leiviskä


Media related to Juha Leiviskä at Wikimedia Commons


  1. Leiviskä, Juha (April 1995). "A Letter from Leiviskä". Architecture and Urbanism.
  2. http://www.finnisharchitecture.fi/2016/06/wow-that-europhoric-feeling-an-anniversary-interview-with-juha-leiviska/
  3. "Prins Eugen Medaljen" (PDF). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
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