The Sibelius monument was unveiled in 1967 following both a public fundraising campaign and a competition organised by the Sibelius Society to create a sculpture to honour the composer Sibelius (1865-1957).
The winning sculpture of organ pipes stirred up much controversy both due to its abstract nature, and the fact that Sibelius never composed organ music. It was only after months of heated debate that the winner Eila Hiltunen was finally commissioned to complete her entry, and a sculpture of Sibelius’ face was added to satisfy those demanding a more figurative sculpture.
The winners were brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen who designed a church whose interior was excavated into rock with a glazed dome allowing natural light into the church. The brothers wanted to leave the interior walls as rough hewn rock, but feared that this design was too radical. Then they learned that this would provide perfect acoustics, and the church is frequently used as a concert venue as a result.