The 10th October, 2019, was the 25th anniversary of Finnish Rakennuslehti and The Kestävä kivitalo. The Finnish Rakennuslehti are an integral publication associated with the Finnish building industry, and the Kestävä kivitalo, or the Sustainable Stone House industry group, represent the various companies dealing in stone in the country.
As the keynote speaker at the event at Finlandia Hall, Marjo Uotila was invited to talk about traditional buildings, and to present the case for beautiful, sustainable structures, that will be valued by communities, continue to be built . She also spoke about the connection between built environments, health and quality of life.
Marjo Uotila countered comments such as “new buildings should reflect our time and not the past”; amongst others that are commonly wielded against those who champion the plight of traditional architecture in the building industry. Marjo explained that we should prioritise our built inheritance and that tradition is integral to the built environment and should thus be a factor in planning for future buildings that individuals will recognise and cherish.
“The most important challenge in 21st century urban planning is to fix the failures of the 20th century urban planning, and to resign the modernist planning tradition.” -Marjo Uotila
Marjo identified that the Finnish Land Use and Building Act (Section 117, Requirements concerning construction) currently states that “a building must fit into the built environment and landscape, and must fulfill the requirements of beauty and proportion.”
The current system is too lenient, and thus still permits the construction of new buildings in sites where they are directly opposed to the existing historic fabric. This is arguably incredibly detrimental when these incongruous additions are completely lacking in context.
A quite impressive collection of 200 architects and other building industry professionals were present at this event in October. INTBAU Finland again made a fantastic, and valuable contribution to the discussion, highlighting the importance of having these conversations about the relevance of tradition to present and future design practice.
As outlines above, Marjo is currently chair of the INTBAU Chapter in Finland, and her contact details can be found on the chapter page here.