Directory   |   Workday   |   Access+   |   CyBox   |   Privacy Policy

Archived News

Leading architectural theorist Juhani Pallasmaa to speak about themes in his work Oct. 7 at ISU

September 30, 2015



AMES, Iowa — Finnish architect, educator and critic Juhani Pallasmaa will speak about his work in a lecture Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Iowa State University.

Pallasmaa's presentation, "Twelve Themes in My Work: Interplay of Thought and Form," will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the ISU College of Design's Kocimksi Auditorium, room 101 Design. Free and open to the public, his talk is part of "Architecture Off-Center," the ISU Department of Architecture's Fall 2015 Architecture Advisory Council Lecture Series.

One of the leading figures in contemporary architectural thought today, Pallasmaa "makes a consistent argument for the role of human experience in design, and explores how architecture can create opportunities for mindfulness, presence and connection," said Thomas Leslie, ISU Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture.

"Pallasmaa argues against the idea of architecture as spectacle or as commodity, instead following the leads of figures like Alvar Aalto, whose work reminds us just how rich an experience of genuine engagement can be. Pallasmaa's writing connects philosophy, design and cognition, expanding our view of what design is and what it should be," Leslie said.

About the speaker
Pallasmaa's architectural practice spans projects in urban design, building design, and exhibition, product and graphic design. His built works can be found in Finland, France, Slovenia, Russia, Ethiopia, China and the United States, where his design for the Arrival Plaza at the Cranbrook Academy greets each visitor to the historic campus.

Awards for his architectural work include the 2014 Architecture Theory Prize from the Schelling Architecture Foundation, the 2009 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Finnish State Architecture Award, the Helsinki City Culture Award, the Fritz Schumacher Prize and the Russian Federation of Architecture Award.

From 1991-98, Pallasmaa was dean and professor of architecture at the School of Architecture, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. He previously served as rector of the Helsinki University of Applied Arts and professor of architecture at Haile Selassie I University, Ethiopia.

He has held visiting chairs of architecture at institutions in the Americas and Europe, including the University of Virginia, Catholic University of America and Yale University. In spring 2010 Pallasmaa was an Imagine Fund Distinguished Visiting Chair at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota and from 2001-03, he was the Raymond E. Maritz Visiting Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. Since 2008, he has served on the jury for the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.

Pallasmaa is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an Honorary Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was named an Academician of the International Academy of Architecture in 2012.

Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Pallasmaa served as director of exhibitions and then as director overall of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, and further as state artist professor. In these roles, he organized, curated and designed numerous exhibitions of Finnish architecture, planning and the visual arts for national and international display, along with accompanying exhibition catalogs. Notable among these are The Language of Wood (1987) and Animal Architecture (1995).

Pallasmaa is the author and editor of numerous books, including Mind in Architecture: Neuroscience, Embodiment and the Future of Design (with Sarah Robinson, 2015), The Embodied Image: Imagination and Imagery in Architecture (2011), The Thinking Hand (2009), Encounters: Architectural Essays (2006), The Aalto House (2003), Juhani Pallasmaa: Sensuous Minimalism (2002), The Architecture of Image (2001), The Villa Mairea (1998), The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (1996) and The Melnikov House (1996).

The Eyes of the Skin, in particular, has become part of the canon of architectural theory; a third edition was published in 2012. Pallasmaa received the 1999 International Union of Architects' Jean Tschumi Prize for architectural criticism.

Thomas Leslie, Architecture, (515) 294-8460,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,