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*UTK Finland Summer Architecture Institute
Helsinki, Finland; Kiljava, Finland; Paris, France; Tallinn, Estonia (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Full Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Costs Sheets Full Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
GPA Requirement:
Language of Instruction:
Class Standing:
Junior, Senior
Language Prerequisite:
Course Prerequisite:
see program description Program Type: UT Faculty-Directed
Open to non-UTK Students: Yes
Experience Type:
Study Abroad
Program Coordinator: Michael Saenz
Field of Study:
Program Description:
Study Architecture in Finland!

This 15-credit hour summer abroad program in Finland focuses on the role of architecture and design within the broader context of the Finnish national cultural identity.  In the design disciplines of Finland, the constants of cultural identity – minimalism, pragmatism and an ecological conscience -- frame specific material and formal responses to the interrelationships between the Finnish landscape and its architectural spaces.  These responses are highly specific and are deeply rooted in a wide variety of intuitive and unselfconscious artistic expressions.
While the curriculum of the program has its focus on the architectural and spatial, it would be impossible to examine this particular architecture without a wider exploration and exposure to Finnish culture and its unique traditions. Ironically, the national history of Finland begins with the Russian revolution and Finnish independence in 1917.  Finland is that rare historical artifact – a nation defined by the advent and evolution of the Modern movement in art and culture.  This specific context has had a profound impact on all of the allied design arts-- from extraordinary work in wood, glass, and ceramics -- to furniture, textiles and fabrics, as well as the performing arts. All of these alliances of the arts culminate In Finnish architecture.  Finland remains one of a handful of countries that retains an extraordinary sense of craft within the contemporary framework of modern processes of industrialization and prefabrication.
This broader frame for an alternative design education is explored through an in-depth investigation of the work of Finland’s architects.  The full range of representational techniques and design methodologies are explored with both American and Finnish faculty through drawing, photography, physical and digital modeling.  Design is understood as integral to all aspects of the program, from original work examining undocumented works by significant Finnish architects to design competitions sponsored by the Society of Finnish Architects.  Each activity, event, or assignment is intended to expose students to the depth of another culture, and revels in each student’s experience of cultural assimilation.  This program provides a platform for learning by and through the direct experiences of the student, and an understanding of the both ourselves and the Finns as storytellers through the art and craft of making.



The coursework for the program totals 15 credit hours -- a full semester of course credit, including the six-credit hour design studio, as well as three 3-credit hour professional elective courses.  Students will register for the studio and documentation courses through UTK, with the final six credit hours being granted by Aalto University.
 The program is structured in two separate sessions, with approximately six days of program release for student free travel between the two sessions.  The first session is structured around fieldwork and subsequent studio and workshop developing full documentation of the project. All good architecture exhibits the qualities of the culture from which it comes. Students are presented with truly unique opportunities to engage in the investigation of the architectural design process derived from these works.  The work done for each of the three 3-credit hour courses is developed in concert with one another.  Two Finnish faculty, Jari and Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen will instruct students during the first session in concert with the Program Director.

The end result of the first session – in written, drawn and modeled form – is evaluated by the Director and Curatorial Staff of the Museum of Finnish Architecture for inclusion in the museum’s permanent collection.  Currently twelve of the projects from previous years are touring in a major traveling exhibition of these unique artifacts of Finnish architecture, including the models from the past two years’ programs.
Session 1
The overall focus of the first session of the summer will be in combined fieldwork and design documentation through sketch, architectural photography, crafted and digital drawings, and scale models of both existing and hypothetical buildings. Our facilities, including both studio and workshops at PAJA are located at Alvar Aalto’s Otaniemi campus of the Aalto University.  The building contains full studio workstations for 30 or more students, a digitally equipped lecture hall, seminar room, and faculty office, as well as fully supervised wood, metal, and plaster/concrete shops and work areas.  Easy access by direct bus from central Helsinki to the campus is available. 

Session 2
During the second session students will take a 6 credit hour design studio in their respective discipline. The studio is taught as a vertical studio with projects ranging from intermediate to advanced complexity.  The studio is traditional in structure, relative to faculty/student roles, but operates more like an office due to the compressed timeframe of the studio experience. The focus of this work is to integrate new knowledge of the architecture and culture of Finland with a broader understanding of the global forces at work in contemporary architecture.

See the following sites for the student experience in the blogosphere of previous programs:

 B.   ARC 425. [3], (Session 1)
Documentation and Representation II:, Architect (Scott Wall/Jari Jetsonen)The investigation of exquisite undocumented buildings by some of Finland’s finest contemporary architects continues as Professor Wall teaches this course as a graphic and physical discourse with a specific work of one of Finland’s most influential 20th century architects, Alvar Aalto.  The project for the summer will take us to Paris, France to document Aalto’s house for Louis Carre a significant art
This coursework will be a forum for an exploration of design method by both architect and student through the traditional techniques of representation – field sketching, drafting, hand rendering and physical modeling. Individual groups of students will do in-depth documentation of selected work of a significant Finnish architect.  This is a superb opportunity to uncover the unique relationship of Finnish architecture and landscape.  Again, it is intended that these projects would be become part of the various exhibitions scheduled in Finland and internationally. 
Hand drawn/rendered representations will be combined with various techniques of digital representation using the Abode Creative Suite in documenting the work.  Drawing and modeling craft of museum level quality is the essential requirement. 


A.   Aalto ARC_1 [6 ECTS/3 US], (Session 1 + 2)
Architecture and the Photographic Image (Jari Jetsonen)A unique opportunity is presented with the work and teaching of Jari Jetsonen, whose skill in craft is matched only by his ability to find exquisite undocumented buildings by some of Finland’s finest contemporary architects.  Professor Jetsonen will teach this course in digital architectural photography as a discourse with architects of the past and present using the works of Eliel Saarinnen, Alvar Aalto and others both well-known and rising contemporary architectural projects with much of the work located in the Helsinki area as the basis for the course. 
This is a superb opportunity to uncover both the universal and the unique in Finnish architectural design.  It is intended that this work become part of the Finland program archive as well as various exhibitions scheduled in Finland and internationally.  Work of the museum level quality is the essential requirement.  Final requirement for the course is a publication-ready pdf which defines each individual’s Finnish experience.
All students receive general architectural elective credit of 3 U.S. credit hours through Aalto University in Helsinki (total credit hours).  Attendance at all class meetings is mandatory.  Grade in this course will be based on a final “book” containing photographic documentation and written work as defined by the instructor.
 C   Aalto ARC_1 [6 ECTS/3crh], (Session 1)
20th Century Architectural History of Finland (Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen)
History elective course will be taught by Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen, SAFA, an architect, architectural historian, and member of the National Board of Antiquities in Finland.  This course will focus on the cultural background to a contemporary history of Finnish architecture.
The course will be structured as a series of history intensive lectures and assignments over the course of the summer, with the first being a full week in Helsinki in June combining lecture and tours.  A journal, as well as work through photocollage will focus on the tangible and material qualities of architecture.  These issues are of critical importance in an architect’s general education, but are also of particular relevance in understanding the Finnish approach to architecture.  This is historical investigation with an edge: to look at extant projects with qualities of space and materiality contributing to a deeper understanding of design issues of particular relevance, as well as a broader understanding of Finnish design culture.
All students receive general architectural elective credit of 3 U.S. credit hours through Aalto University in Helsinki (total credit hours).   
Attendance at all class meetings is mandatory.  Grade in this course will be based on a final topic paper and related photo essay as given by the instructor. 


ARC 496/590 [6]  (Session 1/2)  Advanced Architectural Design: Thematic Studio/Special Topics
(Mark Stanley)
This studio-based course will be directed by Professor Mark Stanley.  The course uses the student’s distillation and understanding of the Finnish experience as the medium of academic and professional exploration.  The projects are derived from those experiences.  Each student's work will be based on and informed by the academic work and assimilated experiences from the first summer session on the history and design culture of Finland.
The standards of the profession are the standards set for the level and quality of the work.  As a means of understanding the level of said quality, we will visit many works of high architectural quality from the past – as well as works by contemporary Finnish architects.
IDS 471  [6]  (Session 1/2) Advanced Interior Design Studio (Mark Stanley)
This studio-based course is for Interior Design majors and will be directed by Mark Stanley.  It is the co-listed equivalent of ARC 496 (see above).


Students will stay in doubles rooms in the Domus Academia student residence hall in Helsinki and in hostels during excursions.

Faculty Contact

Scott W. Wall
Phone: (865) 974-5265

This program is currently not accepting applications.

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