Evolutionary architecture for social innovation

Join our hybrid seminar featuring the thoughts and visions of architecture students for the development of Tervasaari Island in Kruununhaka, Helsinki. The designs have been collaboratively produced with students from the Shibaura Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan.
Aerial view of May Day eve celebration and social distancing on Tervasaari, Helsinki, Finland
Aerial view of Tervasaari. Photo: Joneikifi, Wikimedia Commons

Benefits of qualitative evolutionary design for creating value in the built environment

  • We address the increasing complexity of the context by simple, flexible and self-organizing [evolutionary] design and planning solutions. 
  • We present qualitative improvements, not replacements.
  • The components can be freely substituted to improve the design: this would be revolutionary in architectural ideology based on preservation!
  • The principle of adaptive reuse is crucial.
  • This is opposite of planned design.


9-9:30 Introduction (Professor Antti Ahlava)

  • What is qualitative evolutionary architecture? 
  • Introduction to teachers and students
  • Brief on the students' task: Evolutionary architecture for Tervasaari Island
  • Differences to other design methods
  • Possible applications for Tervasaari

9:30-10:30 Students present their work

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:45 Students continue presenting their work

11:45-12:00 End of seminar, conclusions and thanks


Cian Evers
Karolin Kull
Liina Kiviö
Elmo Holopainen
Gideon Oladosu
Tuan Phan
Eeva Rosenqvist
August Stange


Antti Ahlava
Heini-Emilia Saari

Project participants

The seminar and the accompanying study course are part of the Business Finland (and European Commission) funded company collaboration project Visualising our Future (VOF) hosted by the Department of Architecture at Aalto University. 

  • Full Professor of Emergent Design Methodologies Antti Ahlava, Aalto University, Department of Architecture, Otaniemi, Finland 
  • Full Professor in Public Building Design Fernando Nieto, Tampere University, Department of Architecture, Tampere, Finland
  • Royal College of Art, Intelligent Mobility, research fellow Dan Phillips, London, UK
  • SmartVIZ Ltd, London, UK
  • Muuan Oy
  • ALA Architects
  • Sitowise
  • Lukkaroinen Architects
  • Parviainen Architects
Woman, child and house in Zanzibar

Humanitarian architecture – what does it mean?

Written by Saija Hollmén, 8th of June 2023

WiT Programme
Mustavalkokuvassa arkkitehtiopiskelijoita vuodelta 1921

Architecture Education in Finland 150 years: Aalto University Department of Architecture Yearbook 2020-2022

The yearbook 2020-2022 of the Department of Architecture at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University introduces pandemic period student work, but also describes architectural education over a 150-year period between 1872-2022.

Department of Architecture

Designs for a Cooler Planet

This fall, the festival celebrates innovative and collaborative designs addressing the impossible sustainability challenges. Experience tomorrow in Otaniemi on 6 Sept – 3 Oct 2024!

Read more
Wood crystals on a black fabric.
  • Published:
  • Updated: