Architect Aarne Ervi
Exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture from 1 Dec 2010 to 20 Feb 2011

The architect Aarne Ervi (1910–1977) was one of the top names in post-war modern architecture in Finland. In the 1950s, he was one of the most influential architects of his time, in addition to Alvar Aalto and Viljo Revell. Ervi’s name is usually first associated with Tapiola, a district in the city of Espoo, for which a garden city plan attracting wide international attention was created in a joint effort by leading Finnish architects, most importantly Ervi. His other significant designs include the seven monumental power plants on the Oulujoki and Emäjoki rivers and the adjacent housing, at its time the biggest construction site in Finland; the Porthania building of the University of Helsinki, in which Ervi tried out innovative prefabricated technologies; and various buildings at the University of Turku campus. One of his last works is the Töölö library in Helsinki, which opens out onto a park through its large glass windows and many terraces.

Aarne Ervi was also a well-known socialite and public figure. Ervi and his second wife, the actor Rauni Luoma, entertained the most prominent cultural figures of the time at Villa Ervi, their home in the Kuusisaari neighbourhood of Helsinki. His wide network of contacts was evident in the clientele of his architectural office: for instance, he was commissioned to design a skiing and fishing lodge for Urho Kekkonen, the President of Finland.

Interior designs played a significant role in Ervi’s work, and he was one of the first Finnish architects to hire interior designers for his office. The exhibition highlights Ervi’s natural and humane attitude toward his fellow man, as well as the essence of his architecture. Ervi’s architecture is harmonious, controlled and comfortable. It opens up and leaves room for the human being.

Produced by the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the exhibition shows a wide array of original materials from the museum’s extensive Ervi collection. The drawing, photograph and manuscript collection from Aarne Ervi’s architectural office was given to the museum back in 1978. Now, on the centenary of Ervi’s birth, the museum was given a donation from Fortum to build on the collection. On show are also new photographs that complement other contemporary materials, new and original scale models, and furniture and film materials that illustrate the period. The new, custom-made scale model of “Tomorrow’s House” was donated by the non-profit association DAMY (Friends of the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture).


Aarne Ervi – tilaa ihmiselle, Architect Aarne Ervi 1910–1977
Coinciding with the exhibition is the release of a 224-page book, published by the Museum of Finnish Architecture, including 15 articles that shed light on Ervi’s architecture from a variety of angles, a list of projects, and plentiful black-and-white and colour illustrations. The book will be in both Finnish and English. Price at the museum bookshop: €30.00

Map of Aarne Ervi and Viljo Revell architecture
The map features the two architects’ most famous designs from the centre of Helsinki, the Kuusisaari–Meilahti area and Tapiola. Ervi and Revell were the top names in Finnish architecture in the mid-20th century, and this year marks the centenary of the birth of both men. Revell’s works were presented in an exhibition at the Didrichsen Art Museum last spring. The map is available at both museums.


PhD Juhana Lahti lectures on Aarne Ervi on Wed, 19 Jan 2011.

A guided tour presenting the works of Aarne Ervi and Viljo Revell
will be arranged on Sat, 22 Jan 2011.

Other lectures and tours are being planned!
For more information, see www.mfa.fi/events.

More information:

Communications Officer Hanna Galtat (press images)
+358 9 8567 5111

Head of Research Juhana Lahti (exhibition and publication)
+358 9 8567 5140

Låda pressmeddelanden på svenska (PDF)

Inkeri and Aarne Ervi at home in Villa Ervi. Photographer unknown/MFA.
Otaniemi ”casino”, Keilaniemi, Espoo 1951. Photo Aukusti Heinonen 2010/MFA.
Sauna Ervi, Kuusisaari, Helsinki. Photo Rafael Roos/MFA.
Villa von Hertzen, Tapiola Espoo 1962. Photo Eero Troberg.