Aalto ARTS Summer School 2023 studies sustainability, forests and use of wood

School of Arts, Design and Architecture is hosting its second summer school in August. This year’s theme is ‘Living with wood(s)’.
People working on a wooden structure near water in summer time
Photo: Wood Programme / Aalto University

Focus of the summer school this year is to study the importance of forests with a wide scope from biodiversity and production of ecosystem services to economically managed forests and wood building processes as well as the ethics related to it. The course will explore forests and wood in their varying appearances and in scales of landscape architecture, urban design, building design and interior architecture. 

‘The mission is to look for more sustainable ways to use forests both in their natural form and as an industrial resource as well as to create living environments built in wood that are in balance with surrounding nature’, says professor of practice in wood architecture Pekka Heikkinen, who is the responsible teacher of the course. 

During the two-week intensive course, the attendees will be able to gain an overall understanding of different viewpoints, importance and uses of natural resources. They’ll also have knowledge of applying research in creating responsible ways of using forest, trees and wood in building future living environments. 

Wide international collaboration 

The course content has been designed in collaboration with academics from world’s leading design and technology universities and in addition to Aalto University experts, the summer school lecturers come from the partner universities: The New School: Parsons School of Design, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Politecnico di Milano, Royal College of Art and École nationale supérieure de paysage. 

In addition to the partner schools and Aalto students, this year the summer school is open for graduates from the related fields in Finland and internationally. The summer school provides an opportunity for graduated professionals to gain supplementary education or for employers to offer education for their employees in the field of wood construction. The summer school is a unique chance to learn in an international, multidisciplinary context and experience hands-on work in high-quality workshops at Aalto University campus. 

Two people working on with a wooden structure outdoors in summertime
Photo: Wood Programme / Aalto University

During the two weeks on campus students will carry out group projects studying the themes of the summer school. Students will produce designs for new living environments in balance with nature on the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi. The projects combine learnings from the lectures, research and hands on work at the workshops studying wood as a material. There will also be visits to different kinds of forests such as the Nuuksio national park and to wood working industries. 

The Summer School course will be held 6–18 August at the Aalto University Otaniemi campus, preceded by a pre-course symposium on 25 May and independent studies during the summer.

The Aalto ARTS Summer School project has received a grant of nearly 950 000 euro from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation for the period of 2020–2023. 

Contrary to previous information, Aalto University students can apply for the summer school until 7 May. 

More information on the Aalto ARTS Summer School 


Summer school coordinator Venla Luukkonen, [email protected]

Manager of international relations Iina Ekholm, [email protected] 

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