In Memoriam - Jukka Jokilehto (1938-2023)


ICOMOS is sad to hear about the passing of Finnish Architect and Urban Planner Jukka Jokilehto. Jokilehto was awarded the ICCROM Award in 2000 as well as the Honorary Membership of ICOMOS in 2014 for his outstanding work in the protection of international cultural heritage. Jukka Jokilehto greatly contributed to the shaping of the conservation field over the span of his career – his works on the history and politics of conservation, as well as conservation theory are an invaluable testimony to his considerable knowledge and expertise in the heritage field.

Dr Jukka Jokilehto, former President of ICOMOS CIF (1992-2001), passed away in Rome on 23rd November 2023. He graduated in architecture and town planning from the Polytechnic of Helsinki and had an extensive career at ICCROM, lately as Special Advisor to the Director-General and previously as Assistant Director General (1992-1998). He was since 1972 the coordinator of the ICCROM course in architectural conservation and from 1973 responsible for the programme in Architectural and Urban Conservation. He shared his knowledge and expertise with the thousands of people trained by ICCROM and beyond. 

He represented ICCROM and ICOMOS and at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and was World Heritage Advisor to ICOMOS (2000-2006), working on evaluation and presentation of nominations to World Heritage Committee. His unwavering commitment is a testament to his profound dedication to advancing global endeavours to safeguard cultural heritage. He travelled around the world with his inseparable wife Dr Mehr Azar Soheil, a conservation architect who graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University, with a PhD from the Sapienza University of Rome.

He lectured and published extensively. His book A History of Architectural Conservation is fundamental to all those studying architectural conservation. In Questions of Authenticity, international principles and criteria are shown as a reference and methodological framework to approach specific heritage sites, considering their local context and shaping the discussion on the topic for years. ICCROM published the book Conserving the authentic: essays in honour of Jukka Jokilehto as a recognition to his great contribution and dedication to develop both theory and practice.

Dr Jukka Jokilehto assumed a pivotal role in formulating and evolving guidelines and policies that have profoundly influenced worldwide preservation strategies. His expertise and contributions have played a crucial part in shaping the trajectory of cultural preservation by ensuring the effective conservation of historical sites, architectural and intangible cultural heritage for future generations. His remarkable career showcases his dedication to bridging the gap between theory and practice within architectural conservation.

Source: ICOMOS CIF Jukka Jokilehto Obituary

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