Resurrection Chapel

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Photo: Simo Rista / MFA
  • PlaceTurku
  • Completion 1941
  • Decade1940s
  • PeriodThe post-war reconstruction era
  • Year of selection1993


The undisputed culmination of Erik Bryggman’s career is the Resurrection Chapel in Turku, inspired by nature and the landscape. According to Riitta Nikula, this mature synthesis of Bryggman’s architecture, one of the key is not just the pinnacle of idyllic post-Functionalism in Finland but worldwide a unique, wonderfully timeless work of architecture. The minimalist Functionalism, which could be seen earlier in Bryggman’s Parainen chapel, has here received the notable romantic and symbolic addition of spiritualized Functionalism.

An alley of deciduous trees leads up to the Resurrection Chapel across the Old Cemetery. The chapel is located on a rocky outcrop amidst pine trees, with a broad flight of natural stone steps rising up to it. At the top of the steps, in front of the main entrance, is a colonnaded portico, to the right of which is a campanile. From the portico one enters via bronze double doors into the low vestibule, and from there via large glass doors decorated with wrought-iron vine into the main chapel space which terminates in a triumphal arch. The chapel space is an asymmetric barrel vault. An aisle is separated from the main space by a row of columns. The aisle’s southern wall of glass opens out towards nature, while the stone passage that penetrates the wall at the east end leads to a pine forest, from where a path leads to the cemetery. Sunlight radiates down on to the altar and living vine on the wall via the light-toned cathedral-glass windows that are the height of the choir.

All of the chapel interiors and details were designed by Bryggman. Suspended from the ceilings of the nave and aisle are decorative copper chandeliers and lamps first sketched by Bryggman and then realised by Paavo Tynell. Artists Ennu Oka and Jussi Vikainen were responsible for the design of the reliefs in the interior and exterior walls.

A lower wing extending from the side of the main chapel space contains the sacristy and a room for the bereaved relatives, as well as offices. A portico with a ceiling of exposed beams connects the chapel to the mortuary situated at its east end.


Helena Soiri-Snellman

Bennett, Janey (1991). ”Sub specie aeternitatis: Erik Bryggmanin Ylösnousemuskappeli / Sub specie aeternitatis: Erik Bryggman’s Resurrection Chapel”. Nikula, Riitta (toim./ed.), Erik Bryggman 1891–1955 Arkkitehti – Arkitekt – Architect. Helsinki: Suomen rakennustaiteen museo.
Bryggman, Erik (1942). ”Ylösnousemuskappeli”, Arkkitehti 7–8/1942, 81–98.
Nikula, Riitta (1993). Rakennettu maisema: Suomen arkkitehtuurin vuosisadat / Architecture and landscape : the building of Finland. Helsinki: Otava.
Sisustusarkkitehtitoimisto Carin Bryggman & Arkkitehtitoimisto Laiho-Pulkkinen-Raunio (1984). “Turun Ylösnousemuskappelin korjaus Turku / Renovation of the Chapel of the Resurrection in Turku”, Arkkitehti 7/1984.
”Tävlan om begravningskapell i Åbo” (1939). Arkitekten 11–12/1939.