Carl Ludvig Engel

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Carl Ludvig Engel
Carl Ludvig Engel portrayed by Johan Erik Lindh.
Born 3 July 1778
Charlottenburg, Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia
Died 4 May 1840(1840-05-04) (aged 61)
Helsinki, Finland, Russian Empire
Nationality German, Finnish
Occupation Architect

Carl Ludvig Engel, or Johann Carl Ludwig Engel (3 July 1778 – 14 May 1840), was a German architect known for his Empire style, a phase of Neoclassicism. He had a great impact on the architecture of Finland in the first part of the 19th century, not just as an architect but also as the head of the Intendent's Office, which was responsible for all key public buildings throughout the country.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Architect person trained to plan and design buildings, and oversee their construction

An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.

Empire style art movement

The Empire style is an early-nineteenth-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts, representing the second phase of Neoclassicism. It flourished between 1800 and 1815 during the Consulate and the First French Empire periods, although its life span lasted until the late-1820s. From France it spread into much of Europe and the United States.


His most noted work can be found in Helsinki, which he helped rebuild as the new capital of the newly founded Grand Duchy of Finland. His works include most of the buildings around the capital's monumental centre, the Senate Square and the buildings surrounding it. The buildings are Helsinki Cathedral, The Senate (now the Palace of the Council of State), the City of Helsinki Town Hall, and the library and the main building of Helsinki University.

Helsinki Capital city in Uusimaa, Finland

Helsinki is the capital city and most populous municipality of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 650,058. The city's urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country's most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 390 km (240 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.

Helsinki Senate Square square in Helsinki, Finland

The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland.

Helsinki Cathedral Church in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Cathedral is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. It was also known as St Nicholas' Church until the independence of Finland in 1917. It is a major landmark of the city.


Carl Ludvig Engel was born in 1778 in Charlottenburg, Berlin, into a family of bricklayers. It was probably as a bricklayer apprentice that he first came in contact with his future profession as an architect. He trained at the Berlin Institute of Architecture after which he served in the Prussian building administration. The stagnation caused by Napoleon's victory over Prussia in 1806 forced him and other architects to find work abroad. In 1808 he applied for the position as town architect of Tallinn, Estonia. He got the job and in this way came into the vicinity of St. Petersburg and the Russian Empire. Finland was also close by and was soon to experience a new governmental phase as a Grand Duchy under Russian rule.

Charlottenburg Quarter of Berlin in Germany

Charlottenburg is an affluent locality of Berlin within the borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Established as a town in 1705 and named after late Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, Queen consort of Prussia, it is best known for Charlottenburg Palace, the largest surviving royal palace in Berlin, and the adjacent museums.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Engel started working in Tallinn in 1809, but just after a few years he was forced to move on again because of a lack of assignments. From this period in Estonia, a palace on Kohtu street 8 in Tallinn survives (today housing the Estonian Chancellor of Justice) and, possibly, Kernu manor.

The Chancellor of Justice is a government official found in some northern European countries, broadly responsible for supervising the lawfulness of government actions.

Kernu Village in Harju County, Estonia

Kernu is a village in Saue Parish, Harju County in northern Estonia. It is located in the southwestern part of Harju County and is a neighour to Saue, Keila, Vasalemma and Nissi Parish in Harju County and Kohila, Rapla and Märjamaa parish in Rapla County.

From 1814 to 1815 he worked for a businessman in Turku, Finland, and this way he came in contact with Johan Albrecht Ehrenström, who led the project of rebuilding Helsinki. The city had just been promoted to be the new capital of the new Grand Duchy of Finland. Ehrenström was searching for a talented architect to work at his side and this meeting proved to be decisive for Carl Ludvig Engel's future career. At this stage Engel did not however stay in Finland. In March 1815 he travelled to St. Petersburg where he got private employment.

Turku City in Southwest Finland, Finland

Turku is a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River, in the region of Southwest Finland (Varsinais-Suomi). Turku, as a town, was settled during the 13th century and founded most likely at the end of the 13th century, making it the oldest city in Finland. It quickly became the most important city in Finland, a status it retained for hundreds of years. After Finland became part of the Russian Empire (1809) and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland was moved to Helsinki (1812), Turku continued to be the most populous city in Finland until the end of the 1840s, and it remains a regional capital and an important business and cultural center.

Finland Republic in Northern Europe

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. Finland is a Nordic country and is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia. The capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku.

Johan Albrecht Ehrenström (1762–1847) was a notable Finnish politician and official who is best remembered as the designer of Helsinki city plan.

In 1816 Engel was planning on returning to his city of birth, but at the same time Ehrenström got approval for his plan to get Engel to Helsinki. Engel's plans for Helsinki had been shown to Czar Alexander I and in February Engel was appointed architect of the reconstruction committee for Helsinki. Engel probably thought that this would once again be a temporary job, but instead Helsinki came to be his life's work.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first Russian King of "Congress" Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

In 1819–1820, when Engel's first creations were nearing completion, his status as a kind of head architect of the Grand Duchy was established when he received more and more building assignments, both private and public, in other parts of Finland. The final confirmation came when he in 1824 was appointed head of the statewide Intendant's Office, responsible for all key state buildings throughout the country, a position he was offered - but first refused because he still had hopes of returning to Prussia - following the resignation of its first head, the Italian-born architect Carlo Bassi, and which he retained until his death. Among his other key works from this period are Helsinki Old Church in Kamppi completed in 1826. He designed the first theate of Helsinki, Engels Teater , in 1827, though this was a rather modest building. He was also responsible for the new city plan for Turku after most of it was wiped out by the Great Fire of Turku in 1827.

Engel died on May 14, 1840 in Helsinki.

See also

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