Who was Wivi Lönn?

Olivia Mathilda ‘Wivi’ Lönn (1872–1966) was the first female architect in Finland to set up her own studio. In the midway of her highly productive career, Lönn was active in Jyväskylä where she designed dozens of buildings, including Wiwi Lönn’s own house.

Wivi Lönn (1872–1966) was the first female architect in Finland to set up her own studio. In 1898, just a couple of years after completing her architectural studies, she was commissioned to design her first major work: a school for girls in Tampere. Completed in 1902, the Finnish School for Girls in Tampere marked the beginning of a busy decade for Lönn as a result of the numerous awards she won in architectural competitions.

A hectic professional life, coupled with the feeling that she was not taken seriously as a female architect, prompted Wivi Lönn to move to Jyväskylä together with her mother in autumn 1911. Lönn was already familiar with her new home town, for she had been a regular visitor to Jyväskylä for 15 years already, coming to see her brother Ville and his family. Her other brother, Emil, also lived and worked there.

On occasion of these family visits to Jyväskylä, Lönn received her first commissions from the municipality. More work started to pour in once she had moved into a house of her own in Hämeenkatu Street. Dozens of buildings designed by Lönn were soon completed in Jyväskylä, including a public primary school, a public library and private Art Nouveau villas. Her touch is visible elsewhere in Finland, too.

When Wivi Lönn moved to Helsinki in 1918, she did not forget her dear Jyväskylä. Because of her close relationship with the Jyväskylä-based Hanna Parviainen, who had an honorary title of commercial councel, Lönn continued to work on local architectural projects, especially in the nearby town of Säynätsalo.

Click here to learn more about guided tours!

You could also be interested…

Kuokkala Manor building photograhped from the outisde

Wivi Lönn’s Jyväskylä

An old red brick building whose conversion was planned by architect Wivi Lönn.

Wivi Lönn destinations in Jyväskylä

Architect and designer Alvar Aalto by the water

Who was Alvar Aalto?