Erik Bryggman, Architect of Crystallized Humanity

Erik Bryggman (1891-1955) lived and worked in Turku through most of his life. He was the youngest child in the family of a customs official. He studied at the Turku Art School while a secondary school student. He studied at the Helsinki University of Technology, receiving his architect's degree in 1916. After graduation, he worked at some architectural offices in Helsinki for a few years, returning to Turku in 1921.

After a couple of years, he was able to open a design office of his own. He always preferred it small, with four or five assistants at most. He eagerly participated in architectural competitions, often with success. Small and large commissions came: from summer villas to educational institutions, hospitals, industrial buildings, and residential complexes. He also designed furniture, as well as monuments and cemeteries..


Erik Bryggman designed Hospits-Betel building at Turun Yliopistokatu. On the first floor there is a restaurant named after Bryggman.

Most of Bryggman's architectural work is located in or near Turku. Some works are elsewhere in Southwest Finland. A few are to be found in other parts of the country. The best-known works in Turku are the Resurrection Chapel, the Book Tower of Åbo Akademi, Atrium apartments, and Hotel Hospits Betel (now Scandic Plaza). Among items on the list of nationally significant cultural environments (published in 2009 by the National Board of Antiquities and the Ministry of the Environment), Bryggman's buildings or groups of buildings have rated eight mentions.

Erik Bryggman sought happiness in work well performed, not in public limelight. The architect Aulis Blomstedt gave a highly appreciative assessment in Bryggman's obituary in the journal Arkkitehti in 1955:”Everything he touched became alive. The most trivial building task, the simplest material changed under his hand into a kind of crystallised humanity, which cannot be described in words. The hidden flower of architecture had burst into full blossom.” (Transl. Jüri Kokkonen 1991.)

Erik Bryggman and Agda Grönberg (1892-1960), a nurse, married in 1917. They had three children, Erik (b., d. 1918) Carin (1920-93) and Johan (1925-94). There are no grandchildren. The family grave is located in the Turku cemetery, right in front of the Resurrection Chapel.