Henry Plummer’s acclaimed Nordic Light: Modern Scandinavian Architecture explores the mystical North and use of natural light in Nordic architecture. Plummer’s original, sensitive photography and perceptive commentary discuss the ways in which natural light has been utilised in order to create specific architectural energy – the poetic dimension – in modern buildings.
Most of the projects discussed in the book are from Finland, and many of them are churches. The selection includes both old and new masterpieces: Aarno Ruusuvuori’s stern Huutoniemi Church (1964); Kristian Gullichsen’s Kauniainen Church (1983), Juha Leiviskä’s masterly Männistö Church (1992), St. Henry’s Chapel by Pirjo and Matti Sanaksenaho (2005), The Viikki Church by JKMM (2005) and many more.
The contents have been divided thematically into 9 chapters: Whiteness, Rhythm, Journey, Carving, Frest, Transiency, Tranquillity, Diffusion and Darkness. Besides architectural interiors, the book also studies façade details, building sections and window structures. Dedicated to Juhani Pallasmaa, this is more than just a beautiful coffee table book: a deep, erudite and literally illuminative book about light as the fundamental element of meaningful architecture.
Clearly expressed in Scandinavia’s most sublime buildings of the past century is a serious contemplation of Nordic light in the context of the contemporary world. At the heart of this still-emerging vision are the animating powers of immaterial forces and energy, which are able to resonate within each living observer, bringing us closer to the human essence of architecture.
– Henry Plummer, Introduction, p. 13.