J. S. Siren in the 1950s. By courtesy of Museum of Finnish Architecture.
J. S. Siren in the 1950s. By courtesy of Museum of Finnish Architecture.

Happy Quasquicentennial, J. S. Sirén

The 27th of May marks the anniversary of one of the legendary Greats in the history of Finnish architecture. Johan (Juho) Sigfrid Sirén, born 27.5.1889 in Ylihärmä, is best known for his design for the Parliament House in Helsinki, Finland. The building was constructed between 1926–31, and its design is based on the winning entry by Sirén and architects Kaarlo Borg and Urho Åberg in an architectural competition held in 1924.

The Parliament House has been rightfully claimed as “the most carefully designed and executed building ever to be erected in Finland” (Vilhelm Helander and Simo Rista, Modern Architecture in Finland, Kirjayhtymä:Helsinki 1987). As the building was created during the transition period from Classicism to 20th century Functionalism, Sirén never quite escaped the label ‘Traditionalist’. Despite his beautiful design work and prolific architectural production, his reputation was also marked by a Pyrrhic victory over Alvar Aalto for the position of Professor of Architecture at Helsinki University of Technology in 1931.

J.S. Sirén was the father of architect Heikki Sirén (1918–2013). He died on 5 March 1961 in Helsinki.

The Parliament House. Drawing by J. S. Sirén. By courtesy of Museum of Finnish Architecture.

The Parliament House. Drawing by J. S. Sirén. By courtesy of Museum of Finnish Architecture.

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