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The Finnish Architectural Review 2/2017: school buildings and women in architecture

The latest issue of Arkkitehti – Finnish Architectural Review talks about school architecture and sheds light on Finland’s long history of women practicing architecture.

Schools are constantly evolving. The positive trend of the new school architecture being of high quality and vibrant has been generally overshadowed in the media by the moisture and indoor air quality problems in older school buildings, which is a grave problem in Finland. However, the primary school is one of the key factors behind the success of the Finnish welfare society.

In today’s increasingly fragmented and multicultural society, the primary school creates a positive cultural collectivity. As new teaching ideals and methods have an impact on the architectural design of schools, a natural pressure for renewal materialises. The current trend in school building seems to be centralisation and larger units. Studies have shown that learning outcomes are better in large schools than in small ones. The sizes of schools have also increased by attaching to them other municipal services, such as a day-care centre, library, sports hall and maternity clinic. As a “multifunctional centre”, the school is an increasingly prominent public building in its neighbourhood, serving people’s everyday lives.

The edition of Arkkitehti presents two new schools, which represent the presently popular “star model”, as well as a renovated concrete school building from the 1960s. The journal also provides an overview of the changes in school architecture since Finnish independence.

Nowadays, girls are doing significantly better than boys in primary school. Also the majority of architecture students are currently female. There are nevertheless still few women leading architectural firms. “Girls are not encouraged at school to take risks, even if it means you fail. Girls are expected to be diligent from early on”, says Jenni Reuter, who discusses the work of the architect with three other female entrepreneurs, Kirsti Sivén, Pia Ilonen and Miia-Liina Tommila. In Finland, women have been in the architects’ profession since the early 20th century. This edition of Arkkitehti presents the history of the Finnish female architects’ network Architecta, which was founded in the 1940s.

Featured buildings:

  • Aurora School, Espoo / Auer & Sandås Architects
  • Nikkilän Sydän School, Sipoo / Ark-house Architects
  • Renovation of Roihuvuori School, Helsinki, Jeskanen-Repo-Teränne Architects
  • Maunula House, Helsinki / K2S Architects

For further information about Arkkitehti – the Finnish Architectural Review, please visit www.ark.fi.

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About Miina Jutila