Skip to main content


What is the role of architecture amidst major change? Architects can through their design choices influence climate change, adapting to it. The appropriate material and design solutions promote sustainability, safeguard biodiversity and reduce the negative environmental impacts of construction.

Have you booked your place at the most important Alvar Aalto event of the year? The 16th Alvar Aalto Symposium – The Weight of Architecture invites everyone interested in contemporary architecture, the environment and acute societal issues to join us at the University of Jyväskylä’s Main Building (Alvar Aalto, 1954–55) on 22–23.8.2024. Aalto University, the University of Tampere and the University of Oulu will also jointly organise a pre-symposium discussion on the planetary boundaries, ecological, social and economic sustainability on the Thursday morning at the Aalto2 museum centre. The official symposium programme will also be streamed live as well as made available as a recording for viewing – from the terrace of a summer cottage or from a different continent – until the end of October. But act now, because Early Bird prices are only valid until 31.5.2024. There are only a limited number of tickets available for the Aalto excursions. Register and book your place as soon as possible here.

Three topical themes: ENVIRONMENT, RESOURCES, and ARCHITECTURE – and top international speakers. New features of the programme include discussion sections with the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) and Archinfo. On Thursday 22.8., the burning environmental topics of the day will be addressed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, Dublin; architectural historian Barnabas Calder of the University of Liverpool; architects Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki and Samuli Woolston of ALA Architects, Helsinki; and climate scientist and IIASA Director John Schellnhuber of Laxenburg, Vienna. The Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) will take a deep dive into the issues of money, politics and power in a discussion with, among others, architect Anders Adlercreutz, who is the Finnish government Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering. Thursday will culminate in the 15th Alvar Aalto Medal award ceremony and an evening party at Aalto2.

On Friday 23.8. the discussion will focus on resources and materials, and the work of the architect in a rapidly changing work environment. The theme of resources will be presented by Hilda Rantanen, CEO of Materialisting, Helsinki; David Benjamin, Associate Professor at Columbia University (GSAPP), New York; Ehab Sayed, Founder of Biohm, London; and Thomas Brogren, Architect, Project Manager of Realdania, Copenhagen. Weighing in on the importance of architecture will be architect, writer and professor Helena Mattsson of the KTH School of Architecture, Stockholm, and architects Emma Johansson and Willem van Bolderen from Studio Puisto Architects, Helsinki. The discussion organized by the Archinfo information centre, “Exhibiting care and repair”, features Matti Jänkälä and Ella Kaira, curators of the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2025; and Kaisa Karvinen, curator at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the discussion moderated by Miina Jutila, Communications Manager at Archinfo. Friday will close with the Finnish premiere of the film “The Sense of Tuning, which is a portrait of the architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai” by film-makers Bêka & Lemoine.

The symposium’s side events start already on Wednesday 21.8. with a lake cruise to Muuratsalo, the site of Aalto’s Experimental House (bus transport is arranged from Helsinki to the boat). After the symposium, on Saturday 24.8., the programme will continue with guided bus tours of Aalto West (Villa Mairea and Paimio Sanatorium) and Aalto East (Vuoksenniska Church and the Sunila housing area). There are limited places for the side events, so secure your tickets promptly here.

The Alvar Aalto Symposium is an international discussion forum on contemporary architecture held every three years in Jyväskylä and organized by the Alvar Aalto Academy. The Alvar Aalto Academy, which focuses on continuing education in the renovation and preservation of modern architecture as well as seminar events, is part of the Alvar Aalto Foundation. The Alvar Aalto Symposium’s main partner is the City of Jyväskylä. Collaborative partners also include Aalto University and the Cumulus Network, Archinfo, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum, the Finnish Architects’ Association SAFA and Habitare Pro.

The internationally celebrated Alvar Aalto Medal was founded in 1967 by the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, MFA Museum of Finnish Architecture (later the Museum of Finnish Architecture, now the Museum of Finnish Architecture and Design Museum), and Finnish Architectural Society. The Medal Committee also includes representatives of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Helsinki.

For more information on the symposium programme and how to buy tickets, click here.

Nina Heikkonen, Programme Manager
Alvar Aalto Foundation
+358 44 500 1257

Aila Svenskberg
Event Communications, Editor
Alvar Aalto Foundation
+358 40 659 1930


University of Jyväskylä, main building 1954–56. Photo Maija Holma © Alvar Aalto Foundation.