Carin Bryggman (1913-1991) was a Finnish architect, furniture designer and representative of modern functionalism, who left a lasting mark on the history of Finnish architecture and promoted the position of women in a male-dominated field. His unique creations, such as the main building of the University of Turku, have inspired generations of architects and designers.

Photo: Turku Museum Center / Turku Description

Carin Bryggman was born in Vaasa and studied at Helsinki University of Technology. Alvar Aalto strongly influenced Bryggman's career, and he became one of Aalto's most important students. Bryggman's most famous works are the Turku Sanomiet house and the main building of the University of Turku, both of which represent modern functionalism.

Bryggman's architecture was clear and reduced, and he used a lot of concrete and glass as building materials. He also carefully designed the interiors of the buildings to best meet the needs of the users. Bryggman received several architectural awards during his career, and his work is exhibited in several notable museums around the world.

Carin Bryggman worked almost his entire career in Turku and was the city's most sought-after interior architect in the 1950s and 1980s. The longest-standing and dearest design target for him was Turku Castle, whose renovation work he participated in from the 1940s until the 1990s. During his career, he designed several projects for Turku Castle.

Turku Castle was one of the many sites that Bryggman collaborated with his father, the architect Erik Bryggman, to decorate. Another important partner was Aviopuoliso Uolevi Nuotio.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Carin Bryggman (April 5, 1920–April 7, 1993), an exhibition presenting her life and design work was organized in Turku Castle. The exhibition was based on the Turku Museum Center's collections: Carin Bryggman's photographs and her interior designs and furniture drawings. At the exhibition, you could get to know Bryggman's versatile production and his unique vision of architecture and interior design.

Chairs and lamps designed by Bryggman in Turku Castle.
Photo: Turku Museum Center/Esko Ahti

Carin Bryggmann was a pioneering architect and designer in many ways

Bryggman was one of the few women who could study architecture in Finland in the 1930s. He was also an active social influencer, for example in the establishment of Naisten Bank and as an expert in the UN settlement program. In addition, he served as a member of the Helsinki City Council in 1953-1960. His style included clarity, reduced functionalism and closeness to people, and his influence can still be seen in Finnish architecture.

Carin Bryggman founded her own interior design office in 1949 as one of the first women in Finland. He designed the interior for hundreds of locations. There were both private homes and public spaces, such as shops, banks and restaurants. Bryggman often designed the furniture himself. In his work, he emphasized purposefulness, beauty, durability and quality.

Bryggman's career continued well into the 1960s, when he designed, among other things, the Biology Department of the University of Turku and the Vaasa City Hall. Bryggman's influence can still be seen in Finnish architecture. For example, the modern functionalist style of the main building of the University of Turku is still inspiring to many architects today.

Bryggman's importance to Finnish architecture is widely recognized. He received, among other things, the Pro Finlandia medal in 1962 and the golden medal of merit of the Finnish Architects' Association in 1983.

Erik and Carin Bryggman, Photo: Turku museum center / K. Bernhard

A designer of usable and durable furniture

Bryggman was a skilled furniture designer. He designed, among other things, chairs and tables, which are still popular design objects.

Bryggman's style was clear, reduced and functional, but at the same time he wanted to create spaces that were comfortable and close to people. He especially liked spaces with plenty of light and natural elements. He followed the same design philosophy when designing the furniture, and that's why they last.

Pair of armchairs, Carin Bryggman, Boman, 50s/60s

Cabinet, Carin Bryggman, 60s

Side table, Carin Bryggman, 60s

Sofa, Carin Bryggman, 60s


More information:
A comprehensive introduction to Carin Bryggman and his work can be found on the website of the Finnish Architects Association: https://www. balmiedut/carinyrjolabryggman/
The website of the Architecture Museum also has information about Bryggman and his most significant works: arkkitehtiesitelle?apid=1113
Helsingin Sanomat's article "Carin Bryggman created concrete and light architecture in Finland" discusses Bryggman's career and her influence on Finnish architecture: art-2000002761193.html
The website of the University of Turku has information about the main building of the University of Turku and its designer, Carin Bryggman: yliopisto/tutustu-yliopistoon/ historiaa/ryakneset-ja-miljoo/turun-yliopiston-paarakennus
Arkkitehti magazine's article "Carin Bryggman - Only the best is good enough" deals with Bryggman's life and career through her own words and interviews: https://www.arkkitehti-lehti. fi/carinyrjolabryggman/

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