Building blocks of a better future

Let's start building within the planetary boundaries and utilise either bio-based or recycled materials for that. This exhibition showcases several ways in which different materials can be used sustainably as new building blocks.
Image of three building blocks
Photo: Anne Kinnunen
Carbon neutral building
A scale model of a wooden building. Photo: Anne Kinnunen

Construction materials are of key importance, if we wish to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Today, a half of all raw materials are used for construction, and the amount is expected to rise as the global population grows. We need to build to more with less.

Production of cement, steel, aluminium, and plastics may account close to double the amount of allowable emissions by 2050. In addition to climate harms, extraction of raw materials is a serious threat to biodiversity. Around 90% of global biodiversity loss is connected to extraction of raw materials.

In this exhibition, you can see scale models of different types of wooden buildings and material samples of bio-based and circular materials.

Building blocks of a better future offers solutions for carbon neutral building and living. It identifies connections between bio-based and circular building materials.

If this solution would become “the new normal” we could address three wicked problems at the same time: climate change, resource crises and biodiversity loss.

Building blocks made from carbon neutral materials
Bio-based building material samples. Photo: Anne Kinnunen

Project team

  • Pekka Heikkinen, Professor of Practice, Wood Architecture
  • Laura Zubillaga, University Teacher, Wood Architecture
  • Jaakko Torvinen, University Teacher, Wood Architecture
  • Matti Kuittinen, Adjunct Professor, Resource-efficient construction and environmental impacts
  • Students of Aalto Wood Program 2021-22, Wood Studio 2021 and Matter of Building seminar course 2022


Life 1.5 in black font and Designs for a Cooler Planet logo on a white, fragmented background.

Life 1.5 – an exhibition of planet-friendly materials, fashion and food

Designs for a Cooler Planet is a five-week-long festival celebrating experiments in planet-friendly materials, fashion, and food.

Black font stating "What's the future made of?" and Designs for a Cooler Planet logo on a white, fragmented background.

What's the future made of?

Planet-friendly alternatives for materials, mindsets and architecture.

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