Myyrmäki Church

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Photo: Simo Rista / MFA
  • PlaceVantaa
  • Completion 1984
  • Decade1980s
  • PeriodThe changing welfare society
  • Year of selection2017


Myyrmäki Church is located in a suburb of Vantaa built during the 1960s and 1970s. The site reserved for the church, between a busy railway line and thoroughfare road, posed several challenges for the planning: the church’s long and narrow plot is located below the high railway embankment, and there is also notable aircraft noise in the area.

Juha Leiviskä won the architectural competition held in 1980 with his proposal “Päivänsäde” [Sunbeam]. The church, based on his winning proposal, rises high to dominate the urban landscape. The building is in the use of both Finnish- and Swedish-language parishes. In addition to the church itself, the building includes assembly rooms and club rooms. The building as a complex rises gradually from the lower end, where the small children’s club is located, towards the tall pinnacle of the main church space and belfry. The building turns its back to the railway tracks, presenting it with a solid-wall frontage. A significant part of the plot could be retained as a park, which the small-scale and meandering building overlooks.

The various interior spaces have been gathered along a corridor cutting through the building, and around the lobbies that overlook the park. In contrast to the low entrance lobby, the spacious church interior is characterized by verticality, rhythmically composed walls and ceilings, sharp skylight prisms and, above all, light.

The main church space can be enlarged by opening up a large sliding wall into the adjoining hall, and together they form an impressive sequence of spaces. Natural light is reflected off the surfaces and edges of the vertically dominant white walls. The main church space is wide transversally, so that the congregation sit as close as possible to the altar. The other side wall is dominated by the organ, the sound quality of which is aided by the longitudinal orientation of the space – which indeed has very good acoustics. Textile artist Kristiina Nyrhinen’s delicate woven artwork on the altar wall repeats and supports the compositional rhythm of the architecture. The lamps designed by Leiviskä, as well as the façade of the organ are also essential parts of the total work of art.

One of the central premises in Juha Leiviskä’s architecture has been natural light, starting from his early works, the Nakkila Parish Centre and St. Thomas’s Church in Oulu. The spatial experience of the German Late Baroque has been an inspiration to Leiviskä, and in Myyrmäki Church it has been interpreted in a modern way, maturing into a comprehensively synthetic architecture.


Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen

Leiviskä, Juha (1985). ”Myyrmäen kirkko ja seurakuntakeskus”. Arkkitehti 8/1985.
Norri, Marja-Riitta & Paatero, Kristiina (toim./ed.) (1999). Juha Leiviskä. Helsinki: Suomen rakennustaiteen museo.
Quantrill, Malcolm (2001). Juha Leiviskä and the Continuity of Finnish Modern Architecture. London: Academy Press.


Projects by same architect

Bertel Saarnio