World-renowned architect, theorist, and educator Juhani Pallasmaa has been selected to receive the 2019 Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum (ACSF). The Award was instituted in 2017 to mark the ten-year anniversary of the founding of ACSF. The purpose of the award is to recognize, celebrate, and raise public awareness of exceptional work that significantly advances the mission of the ACSF in architecture, landscape architecture, art, design, urbanism, planning, and related fields. Pallasmaa was chosen to receive the Award because of his “long list of influential writings, lectures, and critiques regarding the phenomenology and meaning of architecture and the built environment,” according to the ACSF Board of Directors.
Born in 1936 in Hämeenlinna, Finland, Pallasmaa has distinguished himself in an architectural career that includes design, construction, writing, lecturing, teaching, and exhibition. He is regarded as one of the most articulate architectural theoreticians and practitioners today. Author of two dozen books and more than 300 essays in 30 languages, his landmark volume The Eyes of the Skin is one of the most read texts in architecture schools across the globe. His exhibitions of Finnish architecture have been mounted in more than 30 countries. He is a former professor of architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology and former director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture. His work has received numerous awards, including the 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, and the Russian Federation of Architecture Award. Pallasmaa is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an Honorary Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was the 1999 recipient of the International Union of Architects’ Jean Tschumi Prize for architectural criticism. In May 2012 he was installed as Academician of the International Academy of Architecture. For many years, he served on the jury of the Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of the field of architecture.
Pallasmaa travels extensively, lecturing and leading workshops that prompt students, teachers, and others to consider the most important topics of today. His sensitivity and commitment to the experience and significance of architecture go well beyond professionalism, cultural sophistication, and philosophy. His goal is to advance the existential and spiritual function of architecture in the service of humanity. “More than ever before, the ethical and humane task of architecture and all art,” observes Pallasmaa, is to “defend the authenticity and autonomy of human experience as well as the existence of the transcendental realm, the reality of the sacred.” He cautions that “living in this quasi-rational time of ours, we are in desperate need of the mental emancipation that the spiritual and artistic experiences can provide to human thought, emotion, and imagination.”
The 2019 ACSF Award for Outstanding Achievement is to be presented to Pallasmaa at the Forum’s annual symposium, which will take place at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 16-19, 2019. ACSF members believe that the design and experience of the built environment can assist the spiritual development of humanity in service of addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues. ACSF’s mission is to provide an international forum for scholarship, education, practice, and advocacy regarding the cultural and spiritual significance of the built environment. More information about ACSF, the Award, and the symposium can be found on the ACSF website: acsforum.org.