Public defence in Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism, MA (Build.Cons.) Seija Linnanmäki

Public defence from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture
Teollisuuskeskus Oy valmistumisvuonna 1953, modernia toimistoarkkitehtuuria Eteläranta 10, Helsinki, satamassa valkoinen matkust
Image Credit: Börje Dilén 1953, Helsingin kaupunginmuseo. CC BY 4.0.

The title of the thesis: Ilmastoitu? Moderni – Sisäilman hallinta sotien jälkeisessä toimistoarkkitehtuurissa (in Finnish)

Doctoral student: Seija Linnanmäki
Opponent: Prof. Minna Sunikka-Blank, University of Cambridge
Custos: Prof. Panu Savolainen, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture

Buildings account for nearly 40 % of our final energy consumption today. The biggest single user of energy is air-conditioning (AC) with a remarkable 10-15% proportion. Exact quality of indoor climate is a characteristic feature of 20th Century modern architecture, enhanced for beneficial reasons healthy, work efficiency, thermal comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency. However, AC increases the use of electricity and has a negative impact on global warming and climate change. 

This study discusses the processes of design and building work in terms of the three main elements of the Theory of Social Practices, materia, competence and meanings. To analyse the role of air-conditioning in modern architecture, materia, I chose two case study buildings, built in Helsinki, Finland 1949-1953: the Head Quarters for the Industrial Centre (architects Viljo Rewell and Keijo Petäjä) and Voimatalo commissioned by Imatran Voima Oy (architect Aarne Ervi). The objects of AC had significant social, political, economic, hygienic, aesthetic and cultural values for 20th Century modern architecture. 

The early stages of air-conditioning and Modern Movement architecture before the World War II form a background for the analyses of the competence and co-operation between architects and new profession of HVAC-engineers. Mechanical ventilation was considered obligatory for office buildings, whereas the traditional Finnish method of natural ventilation, was not permitted. 

Office rooms in the Industrial Centre were air-conditioned by well-known American Carrier Conduit Weathermaster System, the first large deployment of this type in Europe, recommended by HVAC-engineer Torsten Kranck who visited New York skyscrapers in 1950. The AC industry for thermal comfort and convenience started in 1953 after a licensing agreement between the Carrier Corporation and the State Metal Works and Aircraft Factory, Tampere, Finland was signed. The meanings of new technology were highlighted due to the Carrier Units imported to Finland at a time of depression, currency regulations and war reparations to Soviet Union. 

The third part of this study encourages people to find ways for buildings and occupants to work together in support of sustainable living and the mitigation of climate change. The demand for easy life and all-year convenience has resulted in energy-consuming world where better energy efficiency is pursued by new, even more electricity using technology with poor material efficiency.

Thesis available for public display 10 days prior to the defence at:

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Doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

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