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, cited in Architecture and Urbanism, April 1995)
Leiviskä was made a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in 1991. In 1992 he was appointed as an 'Artist Professor' by the Finnish President. In 1994 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and awarded the Prince Eugen Medal the same year. 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
- Kouvola City Hall, Kouvola (1968) (with Bertel Saario)
- Lemi Old Wooden Church, restoration, Lemi (1969)
- Nakkila Parish Centre, Nakkila (1970)
- St.Thomas's Church and Parish Centre, Puolivälinkangas, Oulu (1975)
- Old Student House, restoration, Helsinki (1980) (with Vilhelm Helander)
- Myyrmäki Church, Vantaa (1984)
- Kirkkonummi Parish Centre, Kirkkonummi (1984)
- Merikasarminkatu 7, housing complex, Helsinki (1984)
- Auditorium and workshop building, Niuvanniemi Hospital, Kuopio (with Vilhelm Helander) (1985)
- Villa Johanna, restoration, Helsinki (1986) (with Marica Schalin)
- Harju Chapel restoration and extension, Mikkeli
- Auroranlinna housing complex, Helsinki (1990) (with Pekka Kivisalo)
- Vallila Library and Daycare Centre, Helsinki (1991) (with Asta Björklund)
- Männistö Church, Kuopio (1992)
- German Embassy, Kuusisaari, Helsinki (1993)
- German Church and Parish Centre, Helsinki, restoration and extension (with Vilhelm Helander) (2001)
- Good Shepherd Church, Pakila, Helsinki, restoration and extension (with Vilhelm Helander) (2002)
- Annexe to Bethlehem Dar Al-Kalima Centre, Palestine (2005)
- Sandels Cultural Centre, Helsinki (2007) (with Rosemarie Schnitzler)
- Swedish School of Social Science, Helsinki (2009) (with with Jari Heikkinen)
- Kipparintalo housing, Kalasatama, Helsinki (2016)
- Malcolm Quantrill, Juha Leiviskä and the Continuity of Finnish Modern Architecture. Academy Press, London, 2001.
- Marietta S. Millet, Light Revealing Architecture. Wiley, Chicester, 1996.
- Roger Connah, Finland: Modern Architectures in History (Modern Architectures in History). Reaktion Books, London, 2006.
- Marja-Riitta Norri, Kristiina Paatero (eds), Juha Leiviskä. Museum of Finnish architecture, Helsinki, 1999.
Media related to Juha Leiviskä at Wikimedia Commons