Pekka Salminen awarded with the Bene Merentibus Medal by the Association of Polish Architects
Architect, Professor Pekka Salminen, founding partner of PES-Architects, was awarded the Bene Merentibus Medal by the Association of Polish Architects (SARP) on 29 November 2019 in Warsaw. The Medal was presented in connection with SARP’s annual gala by Mariusz Ścisło, President of SARP.
Pekka Salminen received the prestigious Bene Merentibus Medal for his merits in European and world architecture as well as support for the development and promotion of Polish architecture, including many years of cooperation with the Association of Polish Architects.
Pekka Salminen is recognized for his work on complex public and cultural buildings in Finland and abroad. Salminen has had an international approach to architecture from the start, actively seeking collaboration with foreign architects and participating in international competitions and architectural events.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this distinction from the Association of Polish Architects,” says Pekka Salminen. “Poland could be called my first ‘architectural home country’ outside Finland. The international architectural collaboration that began for me in Poland later continued to expand to Germany, Croatia and, most recently, China.”
In all these countries, Pekka Salminen and his office have established local offices and collaboration and promoted their vision of the basic characteristics of Finnish architecture: user orientation, reasonableness, affinity with nature and sustainability. These systematic efforts have resulted in Pekka Salminen’s main works abroad: the Marienkirche concert church in Neubrandenburg, Germany, and the Wuxi Grand Theatre and Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre (SCAC ) in China.
Pekka Salminen’s ties to Poland date back to 1978, when his team participated in the Warsaw Confrontations competition. At this time, he met awarded Polish architect Romuald Loegler, who would become a lifelong collaborator and personal friend. A major joint project was the invited competition for the Kronprinzenbrücke memorial bridge for the reunification of Germany in Berlin in 1991, where they won third prize. They have continued to work on competitions together and are planning a joint exhibition in 2020.
As Marta A. Urbańska, Plenipotentiary of the SARP Main Board for Cultural Heritage, noted in her laudatory speech, Salminen’s role was particularly significant for Polish architecture in the 1980s in a country then behind the Iron Curtain, when his professional connections and standing helped Polish architects to establish links to the world. Salminen also sponsored or employed numerous young Polish architects and students during their studies or internships in Finland.
Salminen’s activities in Poland have been many. He acted as juror of the International Biennale of Architecture in Krakow soon after its establishment, contributing significantly to the promotion of the event. He has co-organised a sports architecture workshop, served in the competition jury for the Museum of Architecture extension in Wrocław, and lectured at events including the BUDMA International Construction and Architecture Fair.
The SARP Bene Merentibus Medal was established by the Association of Polish Architects in 1996 as a recognition to persons or institutions particularly distinguished for services to Polish architecture in a broad sense. The recipients – which have included names such as architectural historian and critic Joseph Rykwert, film director Andrzej Wajda and composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki – represent a wide range of cultural and social spheres. Pekka Salminen is one of the few non-Polish recipients of the distinction.
In connection with the visit, Pekka Salminen gave a public lecture entitled “The Art of Material” on 28 November at the SARP exhibition pavilion in Zamoyski Palace, Warsaw.