Ellen Heikkilä, student of architecture

'Design and planning are human-centric, which inspires me.'
My Story Ellen Heikkilä

'When you’ve studied architecture for a while, you start to see the city in a new way. You can’t escape the built environment, and it affects people. Being an architect is therefore very holistic.

Design is human-oriented, and that’s why it interests me. I get to explore different problems related to buildings in depth. You can do almost anything with a degree in architecture.

Our studies include a lot of one-on-one teaching where the teacher goes through your work with you. You need to give the reasons behind the design process, which is a valuable way to learn. I can create the concept of a building in my mind and explain it to others. That’ll be an important skill in the world of work as well.

In project-based courses, we are given assignments to design something that can feel impossible at first. When you work on the design, you notice you can do it. My confidence has grown, and my idea of the field has broadened. The superb conceptual drawings of architecture firms are just a visualization of the end result, which is preceded by a huge amount of invisible work.

The most unforgettable experiences are the several study trips, where you see in practice what you’ve learned. All students in the same year go on a big study trip at the end of their second year. My year travelled to the east coast of the US, seeing large public buildings from Seattle to San Diego.

Aalto University’s campus is a great place for an architecture student. I’m interested in repair construction, and old buildings on the campus have recently been carefully renovated. I’m interested in how buildings change with age and how this is taken into account. I’m writing my bachelor’s thesis on the renovation of Aalto University’s Dipoli building in Otaniemi.
Aalto has given me a lot of ideas about what I could do for a living. I think it’s the student’s responsibility to find his or her interest. At the moment, I’d like to work as a renovation architect.'

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