Alusta pavilion – Environmentally conscious architecture

A place for encounters between humans and non-human animals in urban space.
Alusta pavilion
How can we live together with the more-than-human community? Alusta Pavilion hosts open discussions during the summer seasons of 2022-2024 in the courtyard of the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. Photo: Maiju Suomi
Alusta Pavilion
The clay and wood structures offer habitats for people, plants and insects. Photo: Maiju Suomi

How can we break the dichotomy between nature and culture through architecture? What kind of space unites rather than separates? How can we live together with the more-than-human community? These questions are discussed at the Alusta Pavilion.

The pavilion is built on the courtyard between the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum in Helsinki, and it is open to the public from June 2022 to October 2024.

The project explores nature-culture relations and offers a place for encounters between humans and non-human animals in urban space. The pavilion functions as a platform for environmental discourse, both on the level of its form and materiality, and the different activities which take place there.

It comprises a pollinator friendly meadow and structures made with clay in its different forms; unfired and fired brick and rammed earth. Alusta is realised by a multidisciplinary group lead by Suomi/Koivisto architects.

A human-friendly, giant insect hotel emerged in the middle of the city

Alusta, built from clay and populated by plants, is a sanctuary for pollinators and a meeting place for all living things.

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Alusta offers a space for thinking about our place as part of a more than human community. The pavilion takes its form through collaboration of plants, human visitors, natural processes and passage of time. The clay and wood structures offer habitats for people, plants and insects. Fungi take part in maintaining the natural cycles and offer shelter and nutrition to insects.

In collaboration with ecologists from the University of Helsinki, the project explores increasing biodiversity in the urban environment and demonstrating the importance of soil and its microbes for the wellbeing of the ecosystem. The human visitor can participate in caring for the soil and plants and in building the pavilion.

Flowers in Alusta pavilion
Photo: Maiju Suomi

Events and open discussions

Alusta pavilion hosts a series of events and open discussions during the summer seasons of 2022 and 2024. The events bring together professionals from different fields to discuss our relationship to the environment on practical, emotional and experiental levels.

Addressing the complex environmental crisis calls for cultural change and transformation of the established values and mindsets. How can architecture contribute to renewing our connection with the living nature?

You are warmly welcome to join us to ponder our place and role in more-than-human world!

Invisible: From a mini-sized supersensor to a forgotten building material - the exhibition will make the invisible visible

Alusta is part of architect Maiju Suomi’s practice-led doctoral research at Aalto University Department of Design. It also acts as a test laboratory for architect Elina Koivisto’s inquiry into natural materials in construction.

  • The project is realized in collaboration with Raseko earth building school and students of design and architecture in Aalto University.
  • The project is supported by Abl-Laatat, Fiskars, University of Helsinki, Hyötykasviyhdistys, Iki Carbon, Ilmarinen, Kekkilä Oy, Kääpä Biotech, Rudus Oy, Stark Suomi Oy, Suomen pintakäsittely, Uula Color Oy and Wienerberger Oy. 
  • The project is funded by the Kordelin Foundation, The Arts Promotion Centre of Finland, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Greta and William Lehtinen Foundation.   
Student teamwork at Aalto University. Image: Unto Raunio

Department of Architecture

We train professionals to design human-centred environments.

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Department of Design

The Department of Design is a diverse community of competent, creative and responsible individuals. In design, we appreciate technical skill, social significance and artistic expression.

Image representing the Sami culture

Interplay of Cultures Studio 2022 Sámi: Architecture that leaves no trace in the environment

The Interplay of Cultures 2022 studio is a masters level course at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture. This year the studio explored Sámi cultures and their way of relating to our material reality.

Wood crystals on a black fabric.

Designs for a Cooler Planet

The festival returns to Otaniemi this fall, 6 Sept – 3 Oct 2024, revealing how we can change the world.

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