CHRISTIAN K. NARKIEWICZ-LAINE
Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine (b. Colorado, USA) is a Finnish/Lithuanian/American architect, painter, sculptor, writer, critic, and poet.
He has worked as an activist for peace, nonviolence, human rights, and social change.
He is a citizen of Finland.
Portrait of Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine by Panagiotis Beltzinitis, 2010
In 1978, he became the architecture critic for the Chicago Sun-Times until 1981; and in 1979, the editor of Inland Architect. In 1981, he relocated to Europe and lived in Italy, studying at The American Academy in Rome. In 1983, he returned to Chicago and established Metropolitan Press Ltd., a small book publishing company dedicated to architecture and design and the publisher of Metropolitan Review, the Midwest's journal of architecture and art. He also worked as a special architecture consultant to the Kennedy family, working for Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. (1983-1988).
He is presently the Museum President of The Chicago Athenaeum since 1988 to the present.
In 2007, he also became the Director/CEO of The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, based in Dublin, Ireland and Athens, Greece with representative offices in Florence, Italy and Madrid, Spain.
Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine and Hassan Fathy, UIA Gold Medal Presentation, Cairo, Eqypt. Also pictured is Charles Correa, 1984
In 1984, he collaborated with the Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz, President of the Union of International Architects in Paris to establish the UIA Gold Medal together with the Kennedy family, personally presenting the first such medal to Hassan Fathy in Cairo, Egypt for his works and books dedicated to “Architecture for the Poor.”
Other UIA Gold Metal recipients include: Reima Pietila (Finland); Fumihiko Maki (Japan), Rafael Moneo (Spain); Ricardo Legorreta Vilchis (Mexico); Renzo Piano (Italy); Tadao Ando (Japan).
In the 1990s, he instituted the prestigious International Architecture Awards and The American Architecture Awards and is the chief curator of GOOD DESIGN—a program originally founded by Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames in Chicago in 1950.
In 2010, he established the European Prize for Architecture. (Danish Architect, Bjarke Ingels 2010) and (German Architects, GRAFT Architekten 2011).
Sir Norman Foster accepting the Louis H. Sullivan Architecture Award in Chicago, 1994.
John F. Kennedy, Jr., Christian K. Narkiewicz-Laine, and Ioannis Karalias.
In the United States, he is a cousin to the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and to the late John Kennedy, Jr.
His father, Sulo Mathias Laine, a doctor, was born in Vaasa, Finland (original last name Rönnberg, which changed to a Finnish name in 1917.) His great grandfather, Mathias Rönnberg, a Norwegian ship captain from Bergen, Norway, settled in Finland and became an inventor/architect, designing the line of train stations from Jyväskalä to Vaasa, Finland.
SPECIAL CURATED EXHIBITIONS
BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS
He has lectured at universities throughout the United States and South America.
He taught architecture history and aesthetics at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
ARTIST AND POET
His paintings, sculpture, and photography have been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.
His personal website is www.cknl.eu.
PEACE ACTIVIST FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND SOCIAL CHANGE
Throughout the 1990s, he headed his family’s foundation, The Radziwill/Narkiewicz-Jodko Foundation, which raised millions of dollars in aid for medical equipment and medical supplies for hospitals and orphanages in and around the Chernobyl Zone. He has been to the Chernobyl Zone on four humanitarian missions and has personally led other shipments of medical supplies to hospitals in the Ukraine and Belarus.
Throughout Eastern Europe, he rebuilt orphanages in the former Soviet Union, particularly those with afflicted Chernobyl children, providing a source for clean, unpolluted water, clothing, beds, and new kitchens equipped with modern appliances.
Together with his mother, Charlotte Narkiewicz-Laine, he assembled a traveling exhibition, the “Children of Chernobyl,” with poignant political art from sick and dying 6-10 year old children from Chernobyl hospitals, which opened in Oslo, Norway and then invited to tour in Germany by the Prince and Princess of Schaumburg-Lippe, and later toured throughout Europe and the United States 1994-2002.
Since 1992, he has also worked to restore and renovate churches, religious institutions, and libraries in Lithuania, many of which were former KGB headquarters and museums of atheism under the former Soviet Union, and he has donated significant personal and family funds for the restoration of significant works of 18th and 19th-Century religious art and paintings.
In 1997, he was awarded the Humanitarian Prize by The David K.Hardin Generativity Trust, donating the $50,000 monetary prize back to the Children of Chernobyl campaign for the purchase of medicines and medical equipment.
In 2007-2008, he organized America’s literary elite and published American Poets Against the War together with over 100 of America’s most prominent literary figures, Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Foundation winners, as a protest publication against the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Bush Administration.
Today, as an artist and writer, he continues as a social critic, producing a highly-charged political art against the Iraq-Afghanistan Wars.
He is currently working on a new initiative to end the Death Penalty in the United States.
© 2011 The Chicago Athenaeum
"The Children of Chernobyl" Exhibition
Restoration of the Main Altar Painting.