my architect cousin


Seppo Mykrä has designed projects such as the Hotel Oscar expansion shown in the background, where hands were even wrung.
captured from Warkauden Lehti

Very occasionally I browse the online newspaper from Varkaus, Finland, the city where I was born and where most of my father’s family came from and where many of my cousins still live. Imagine my stunned surprise last night when I was checking it out and found a photo and article about my cousin Seppo Mykrä. He has been the city’s architect for 40 years and now has an exhibition of photographs of some of his hundreds of designs in that city.

Here’s my translation of the article:
by Rauno Ylönen 4.8.2011
Architect Seppo Mykrä’s touch is strongly reflected in the city of Varkaus and its streetscape. 70-year-old Mykrä has designed hundreds of buildings for Varkaus in the past 40 years.

Some of these are on display as photographs in the Unknown Creator exhibition at the Varkaus library starting this Wednesday. The exhibition is divided into three parts: industrial buildings, residential buildings and public buildings.

Photography and exhibition design has been carried out by Seppo Mykrä’s granddaughter, Emma Luukkala, a student at the Tampere Art High School. We are still making the book of these photographs, Luukkala says.
Read more in Warkauden magazine on Thursday.

Unknown Creator – an exhibition of Seppo Mykrä’s architecture in Varkaus from 1972-2011 at the Varkaus library exhibition room August 31st.

Can you tell how proud I am of my cousin, who is my late father’s late sister’s son? I deeply wish I could be there to see this exhibition and all his lovely family and home. The last time we met was in 2002.

Now, just a few words about the curious name Varkaus or Warkaus about which we are often teased:

Oddly enough, ‘Varkaus’ translates to ‘theft’, even though it is not the reason for giving that name to the city. In old Finnish, the same word also meant strait, and this city is located in the lake district […] on straits between two parts of Lake Saimaa.

I’ve heard many different explanations for the name but this one is new to me and does make the most sense.

And, oh, I just remembered that it’s my father’s birthday today (as well as being special for a few others in our family). If he were alive he would be 91 years old, and very very proud of his nephew!

August 12, 2011 in Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Other artists, Photography by Marja-Leena