Events

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 and 2023 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 2023.

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.

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.

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, and the Greta and William Lehtinen Foundation.   
Clay structures of Alusta pavilion
Pollinator friendly structures made with clay. Photo: Maiju Suomi

Events in Alusta pavilion between August & September

Alusta: Aesthetics and the Environmental Crisis
Wed 17 August at 6 pm
in English / free entry

Environmental philosopher Sanna Lehtinen from Aalto University discusses aesthetics, nature culture relations and the possibility of change.

Night of the Arts in the Alusta pavilion
Thu 18 August at 8 pm & 10 pm
in Finnish / free entry

at 8 pm
Ecotheologist, docent Panu Pihkala from the University of Helsinki and artist Patrik Söderlund from the artist duo IC-98 discuss feelings evoked by the environmental crisis and art as a tool to face them.

at 10 pm
As the sun goes down, a work by the artist duo IC-98 called Näkymä vastarannalta (“View from the opposite shore”) is displayed.

Flowers in Alusta pavilion
Pollinator friendly plants offer nutrition for insects. Photo: Maiju Suomi

Alusta: On the Relationship of Humans and Non-human Animals
Sat 27 August at 3 pm
in Finnish / free entry

Docent Elisa Aaltola from the University of Turku has focused on animal and environmental issues and moral psychology. Aaltola talks about the relationship between humans and non-human animals

Alusta: Loss of Biodiversity & Urban Design
Wed 31 August at 6 pm
in Finnish / free entry

Assistant professor of landscape design and ecology Elisa Lähde from Aalto University and docent of urban ecology Kati Vierikko from the Finnish Environmental Center discuss the loss of biodiversity and how designers can respond to it in urban environments.

Concrete structure of Alusta pavilion
Photo: Maiju Suomi

Alusta: Care, Architecture & Materiality
Fri 2 September at 5 pm
in English / free entry

What would happen if we were to cease treating construction materials as something separate from us that is there for us to utilize and discard as we wish? How could we care more for our buildings and materials in them and how could they care for us in exchange? What kind of architecture binds us to our material world? Discussion on the role of materials in architecture & introduction to pavilion materials, clay and biochar.

Speakers are Matti Kuittinen, Architect, Adjunct Professor, Resource-efficient construction and environmental impacts, Aalto University and Elina Koivisto, Architect, University Teacher
in Building Technology, Aalto University.

Alusta pavilion
Photo: Maiju Suomi

Alusta: Architecture & Empathy
Sat 3 September at 3 pm
in English / free entry

Minimizing the negative impacts of construction is not enough – how can architecture contribute to the wellbeing of the community, both human and nonhuman? How does design change when it is based on empathy? Discussing Architecture and empathy are Associate Professor (tenure track) in Housing Design Sofie Pelsmakers from Tampere University and Architect, Doctoral Researcher 
Maiju Suomi from Aalto University.

The event is in English and situated in Alusta Pavilion, located between the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. The location is outdoors. The event is free and there is no pre-registration.

Butterfly flying from plant to plant
Photo: Maiju Suomi

Alusta: Making in the More Than Human World
Wed 7 September at 5 pm
in English / free entry

How does moving beyond the anthropocentric attitude change a designer’s perspective? Who is the author when natural processes, plants and non-human animals take part in
shaping the outcome? What is the role of the material in the making?

Speakers are Maarit Mäkelä, Associate Professor, Practice Led Design Research, Aalto University, Maiju Suomi, Architect & Doctoral Researcher, Aalto University and Aarni Tujula, Bachelor of Arts, Aalto University. The event is in English and situated in Alusta Pavilion, located between the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. The location is outdoors. The event is free and there is no pre-registration.

Flowers in Alusta pavilion
Photo: Maiju Suomi

Alusta: Architecture as a Tool for Environmental Discussion
Wed 14 September 2022 at 5 pm
in Finnish / free entry

Together with the Vapaa and You Tell Me collectives and Panu Savolainen, professor of the history of architecture at Aalto University, we ponder how architecture can promote environmental discussion and contribute to building a new relationship with nature.

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.

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Events
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