Hack our habitat

Designs for a Cooler Planet Hack our Habitat

Aggressive urbanisation is straining our ecosystem. Rising construction volume causes massive demand for energy-intensive construction materials, and construction already accounts for 39 per cent of the global CO2 emissions.

Growing urban areas make it difficult for plants and animals to thrive. They also cause floods and flush chemicals into the oceans.

Around 90 per cent of our time is spent indoors, so the built environment has a huge impact on our wellbeing.

We need to hack our habitat and design better-built environments for us and the whole ecosystem.


Note: According to the current coronavirus guidelines, only the Aalto students and personnel can visit the Otaniemi campus exhibitions without pre-booking. From September 7 onwards, we will organise a few small group visits to the exhibitions at Väre and Vuorimiehentie 2. Visits must be booked in advance. Registration links will be updated here in September. For the time being, we’ll organise all events (except Infrastructure walk) as virtual events.

Our team in this game

Articulated landscapes: Sustainable future cities between architecture and landscape

By viewing the city as a systemic network of relationships, we can develop new approaches to our future challenges related to urbanisation.

Articulated Landscapes

Carbon Lane – Urban test site for sequestering carbon with biochar

Biochar can significantly increase the long-term capacity of cities to sequester carbon.

black biochar in a bowl

Makers of Landscapes - Viewpoints on landscape architecture

Landscape architecture is a multidisciplinary field, combining architecture, natural sciences and technology, and it has many solutions to climate change.

people sitting and walking around in a park in summery sunset

Exploring nature-based solutions to control stormwaters in urbanised Otaniemi

A mathematical model explores the benefits of using nature-based solutions in stormwater design and management on the Aalto University Otaniemi campus.

maps and plans drawn in black and white on sustainable stormwater systems on Aalto Otaniemi campus

Infrastructure walk in Otaniemi

The infrastructure walk is a convivial and educational practice, combining technical expertise with local knowledge.

Aalto University Undergraduate Centre Otaniemi, image: Tuomas Uusheimo

Interplay of cultures – Education in Global Sustainability

A selection of student projects celebrate the 25th anniversary of education in global sustainability and humanitarian development at Aalto.

exhibition offers photos, textiles and structures

New Life of Gardenia - adaptive reuse concepts for the former nature center in Viikki

Architecture students developed ideas for the future use of Gardenia building in Viikki, Helsinki.

sketch for the new use of Gardenia building in Viikki, Helsinki: a vertical farm. people walking indoors the glass-walled building, fruits being sold there

Layering Cellulose: Recyclable bio-material for structural purposes in furniture, interiors and architecture

Construction industry consumes a lot of materials, which also often are not biodegradable, bio-based or recyclable.

laminated white structures against a black background

The Alder Project - How to understand forests

The project documents a zero-waste approach: how an alder tree can be cut down, researched and used for furniture while leftovers are processed as a new fibre-based biomaterial.

cutting down an alder tree in a green forest scenery with a bright summery sky

Waves Rising – Projections of rising sea levels

A sculptural installation conceptually materialises projections of rising sea levels as a consequence of climate change.

a blue colored print marking water has been placed on a rock to showcase the rising of water due to climate change

The Baltic Ripple Effect

The Baltic Sea is one of the most vulnerable biospheres; a fragile ecosystem that is suffering from human impact.

a collage of photos with shipping containers alongside with a set of still life objcts such as bottle, fish and rocks, all black and white

Soil Matters exhibition at Designmuseum

Explorations on the materiality of soil and how it is interwoven with human activity.

Prof. Maarit Mäkelä and her work

The Project Underground: A Whale

This video installation project raises awareness of whales and their hunt.

Project Underground: Whales Illustration: Sylvía Lind Birkiland (Icelandic University of Arts, Reykjavik), Ada Rotomskyte (VDA Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania) and Gintare Ruksenaite (School of Arts, Design and Architecture)

The targets to reach

Designs for a Cooler Planet Hack our Habitat

To make necessary changes, we need intelligent and well-designed solutions.

Donate to Aalto University and support us in achieving our goal of shaping a sustainable future.

Designs for a Cooler Planet

The event is a part of Helsinki Design Week’s official festival programme, the largest design festival in the Nordics takes place 3–13.9.2020. Designs for a Cooler Planet is also one of the EU's Green Week 2020 partner events.


Farewell to fossil fuels

More than half of our energy still comes from fossil fuels. No single technology can replace our reliance on them.

Designs for a Cooler Planet Farewell to fossil fuels

Close the loops

Making things and manufacturing processes produce pollution and environmental degradation, draining natural resources.

Designs for a Cooler Planet Close the Loops

Hack our habitat

Aggressive urbanisation is straining our ecosystem. Rising construction volume causes massive demand for energy-intensive construction materials, and construction already accounts for 39 per cent of the global CO2 emissions.

Designs for a Cooler Planet Hack our Habitat

Consume consciously

Household consumption accounts for more than 60 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 50–80 per cent of total land, material and water use.

Designs for a Cooler Planet Consume Consciously

Please notice that exhibitions are in four different locations at the Otaniemi campus area which all have different opening hours. Please check specific details from the exhibition pages. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, and the event will follow all of the rules and regulations set by the Finnish authorities. The safety of the employees, students and visitors is always prioritised.

Graphic design: Olga Elliot & Milja Komulainen

Designs for a Cooler Planet — Helsinki Design Week 2020
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