/ Architecture

Viljo Revell 1910–1964

Viljo Revell is one of Finland’s foremost architects of international renown. The Glass Palace in Helsinki was an important first work. It was designed with Niilo Kokko and Heimo Riihimäki, students of architecture, in 1935. As an up and coming architect, he assisted Alvar Aalto with the world exhibition in Paris 1936.


Viljo Revell had all the important characteristics of an architect. His architecture was noted for straight and clear lines; he was logical, patient and had foresight – he could see the technical architectural problems of the future.

Revell was a forerunner with regard to solving technical problems, and yet never forgot the human aspect. After World War II he became influenced by the international development – the technique of building with elements and reinforced concrete. This was internationally known as concrete brutalism, a style which originated in England. An example of this can be seen in the Makkaratalo in the center of Helsinki, and in the exterior of the Didrichsen Art Museum.

Revell’s style

Revell’s style became a concept of the 1950s. He endeavoured to study architecture in greater depth, rather than simply concentrate on the exterior of a building. He wanted to feel the true and total character of his creations. After the war the romantic period was followed by the rational approach to architecture.

Revell’s work

Viljo Revell’s greatest breakthrough was the winning of the architectural competition for the design of the City Hall of Toronto. With the help of his assistants; he was the winner among 520 contestants. Unfortunately he never saw the finished work; he died in Helsinki in 1964 at the young age of 54.

Viljo Revell’s most important works

1935 Glass Palace, Helsinki, Finland

1948 Palace Hotel, Helsinki, Finland

1951 Meilahti Elementary School, Helsinki, Finland

1953 Tornitalo skyscraper, Tapiola, Espoo, Finland

1953 The Competition for the Reform of Housing, entry: “Blue Band” (never realized)

1957 Vatiala Chapel, Tampere, Finland

1957 Didrichsen Villa, Helsinki, Finland

1958 Tornitalo skyscraper, Tapiola, Finland

1959 Johnson Sauna, Racine, WI, USA

1960 Makkaratalo, Shoppingcenter, Helsinki, Finland

1961 KOP Bank, Lahti, Finland

1962 City Center of Vaasa, Finland

1962 Watertower, Tapiola, Espoo, Finland

1962 Peugeot, Buenos Aires (never realized)

1964 Didrichsen Art Museum an addition to the Villa), Helsinki, Finland

1966 City Hall of Toronto, Canada