Nils Erik Wickberg Lectures 2022: Architecture, Society and Circular Economy

Nils Erik Wickberg Lectures takes place on 27th of October. The seminar’s theme this year is Circular Economy in the built environment, with various approaches from both international and Finnish researchers and practising architects. The presentations will explore circularity from various angles, from history to theory and practice.
A visualisation of an apartment where recycled materials has been used as building materials
Visualisation by Havu Järvelä

Architecture, Society and Circular Economy 

Our planet faces increasing, tangible consequences of climate emergence, mass extinction and depletion of natural resources. Circular Economy (CE) has gained a growing foothold in policymaking, academic research, and practical projects in all parts of society from consumer goods to energy systems. In the built environment, the concept aims at narrowing, slowing, and closing resource loops by avoiding new construction, prolonging the life cycle of buildings, and reusing building materials. 

In architecture, the new circular design paradigm, to gain a larger foothold, is dependent on a larger change in culture and values, not only technology and calculations. Climate change has been compared to the industrial revolution in its power to affect society. On the other hand, the design practice and research may situate themselves at the forefront, to catalyse change. In the course of history, architecture has symbolized current regimes while predicting forthcoming change.

The shortest version of the “imperatives of circular economy” is threefold: refuse, reuse and recycle, and they can all be interpreted and implemented in architecture. In refusing, the existing buildings will not be valued solely according to their historical and cultural values against monetary incentives behind demolition, but also by taking into account the embedded natural resources and energy. Reuse engages various scales; reusing buildings as such, or from utilizing the structural frame to relocating bigger or smaller components. The last, recycling, retains the least value of material while being the easiest option, as we may see in how concrete ends up as crushed low-value material for road construction. 

In Nils Erik Wickberg Lectures 2022, circularity will be approached from the viewpoints of architectural history, theory and future practices. Critical views will be shed on the connections of modern and contemporary architecture to consumption, novelty and waste. Pioneers and future makers of circular architecture will open how the new practice differs from how we understand architectural design and its aesthetics today. 




Acte I (chair Panu Savolainen)


13:00 Panu Savolainen, Professor (tt), History of Architecture, Aalto University

Welcome and Prolegomena

13:15 Antti Lehto, Professor (tt), Housing design, Aalto University

The new paradigm of Circular Architecture 

13:30 Ella Müller, Architect

Modern architecture and wastea historical perspective

14:00 Iida Kalakoski, Architect, university teacher, Tampere University

Built Heritage and Circular Economy  




14:30 Coffee at the lobby




Acte II (chair Antti lehto)


14:30 Havu Järvelä, Architect

Recycled block of flats

15.00 Tina Ekener, Architect, baubüro in situ, Basel

Building with the existing: reuse in Architecture

16:15 Daniel Abramson, Professor, History of Art & Architecture, Boston University





17:30 Drinks and snacks



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