25 Years of Education in Global Sustainability and Humanitarian Development at Aalto University
Interplay of Cultures
In recent decades, many Western architectural schools have taken up
the challenge to tackle global polarities and humanitarian crises.
Educational programs raising awareness of the "south – north",
"developing – developed", "poor – rich" dichotomies are all asking the
same question: What is the role of architecture in the globalizing
Since 1993, the Department of Architecture at Aalto
University has offered courses on development issues dealing with the
reality of architecture, building design and urban planning outside
Europe, with cultural understanding as the starting point.
The course, originally called Interplay of Cultures
was first developed and undertaken by architects Hennu Kjisik and
Veikko Vasko, under Juhani Pallasmaa's deanship. From the beginning, it
has been about careful analysis and learning about local conditions,
about communication with local stakeholders and communities, and
listening to the needs and aspirations of the local people. It has been
more about pondering the values on which we base our profession, and the
moralities we choose to follow in our practices – and what we can learn
from ourselves, when venturing out to the unknown. It was, and still
is, about mutual learning and respecting other ways of seeing the world.
recent years the focus has moved from strictly architectural towards
more interdisciplinary approaches, embracing disciplines from other
Schools of Aalto University – namely from Aalto University's Sustainable Global Technologies (SGT) Programme,
where students in multidisciplinary teams carry out projects linked to
global development challenges in collaboration with partners from
academia, industries, government and civil society organizations and
The exhibition, first organized at the Museum
of Finnish Architecture in 2018, and this catalogue discuss questioning
and redefining the role of architecture in our societies and the
globalizing world, where the challenges are too big to tackle with one
disciplinary knowledge alone.