Reima and Raili Pietilä

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Metso, city of Tampere main library

Reima Pietilä (25 August 1923 – 26 August 1993) was a Finnish architect. He did most of his work together with his wife Raili Pietilä (Raili Inkeri Marjatta Paatelainen, born 15 August 1926).


Reima Pietilä graduated in architecture 1953 in the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK).

Raili Paatelainen received bachelor's degree in 1946 and graduated in architecture 1956 in the Helsinki University of Technology. At the beginning she worked 1949-1951 for Olli Kivinen and later with Olaf Küttner 1959-1960.

Reima and Raili commenced their collaboration 1960 creating the office Reima Pietilä and Raili Paatelainen, renamed in 1975 to Raili and Reima Pietilä architectes. Reima Pietilä and Raili Paatelainen married 1963.

Reima Pietilä was professor of architecture at the University of Oulu from 1973 to 1979.

The life and career of Reima Pietilä has been well charted in the writings of British architectural historian-critics Roger Connah and Malcolm Quantrill, as well as Norwegian theorist and historian Christian Norberg-Schulz. Their basic question is to what extent Pietilä goes against the grain of a Finnish modernist architecture concerned with rationalism and economy. The whole question is problematic, however, because Finland's most famous architect, Alvar Aalto, was also seen as someone who broke the mould of pure modernism, someone who indeed talked about extending the notion of rationalism. Pietilä saw his work as organic architecture, but also very much modern. Pietilä intellectualised his position, and was well-read in philosophy. He was very much concerned with the issue of a phenomenology of place, epitomised by the Student Union building Dipoli (1961–66) at Helsinki University of Technology. This concern for place also extended to his concerns about national identity and Finnishness, even exploring the Finnish language to generate architectural form. The same then applied also for his works abroad, in Kuwait and Delhi.

A major exhibition of the work of Reima and Raili Pietilä was held in 2008 (from 27 February to 25 May) at the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki, titled Raili and Reima Pietilä. Challenging Modern Architecture.

Their daughter and only child Annukka Pietilä (born 1963), is also a qualified architect. Artist Tuulikki Pietilä was Reima Pietilä's sister.

Life and works[edit]

Community center complex in Hervanta Tampere

Significant buildings[edit]


  • Roger Connah, Writing Architecture. Fantomas Fragments Fictions - An Architectural Journey Through the 20th Century. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000.
  • Malcolm Quantrill and Matti K. Mäkinen, The Unmade Bed of Architecture. Rakennustieto, Helsinki, 2005.
  • Malcolm Quantrill and Reima Pietilä, One man's odyssey in search of Finnish architecture: An anthology in honour of Reima Pietilä. Art Consulting Scandinavia, Helsinki, 1988.
  • Malcolm Quantrill, Reima Pietila: Architecture, Context and Modernism. Rizzoli, New York, 1985.
  • Christian Norberg-Schulz, Nightlands. Nordic Building. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1997.

External links[edit]

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