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Welcome all friends of architecture to the virtual 15th International Alvar Aalto Symposium – Future of Industry, which will be broadcast from Jyväskylä on 12.–13.8.2021! The theme of the Future of Industry will be explored from the topical perspectives of architecture, art, industry and technology.

Due to both global and local COVID-19 recommendations, there will be no live-audience present during the symposium. The two-day event will be broadcast from the main building of Jyväskylä University (1951–54), designed by Alvar Aalto.

The Alvar Aalto Symposium – a forum for international architecture since 1979

Architect, Professor Juhani Pallasmaa (Finland) will moderate this year a panel discussion with architects Sean Godsell (Australia), Peter MacKeith (USA), Esa Laaksonen (Finland), Alberto Pérez Gómez (Canada), Sami Rintala (Finland) and historian, critic and artist William J.R. Curtis (U.K) considering how the Alvar Aalto Symposiums have anticipated future developments in architecture, as well as reflected the architectural debate of their time.

The first Alvar Aalto Symposium was held in Jyväskylä in 1979, with more than 400 participants from 14 different countries. Internationality, and the artistic, social and technical potential of modern architecture have from the beginning been central themes of the symposiums. Star speakers in the sciences and arts, from Kenneth Frampton to Georg Henrik von Wright and Kaija Saariaho, as well designers, both domestic and international stars of architecture, such as Alvaro Siza, Charles Correa, Herman Hertzberger, Kazuyo Sejima, Gert Wingårdh and Shigeru Ban, just to name a few, have already made the symposium an established event. To many of the participants, just as important has been the global networking and the exchange of opinions surrounded by Alvar Aalto’s architecture in summertime Jyväskylä.

Looking towards the future of architecture

The virtual International 15th Alvar Aalto Symposium – The Future of Industry honours the successful history of the Symposium and, above all, focuses on the future. How do we envisage the factory of the future? What issues are being talked about right now in architecture and urban planning? How do we envisage the pleasant smart city of tomorrow?

Providing the introduction for the discussion of industrial construction, urban planning and future visions are the symposium’s speakers: architect Xu Tiantian (DnA_Design and Architecture, China), architect Thomas Bonde-Hansen (Gottlieb Paludan Architects, Denmark), architect, Professor Ute Schneider (KCAP Architects&Planners, Rotterdam/Zürich/Shanghai), and architect Tuomas Kivinen (Virkkunen & Co, Finland). Beniamino de Liguori Carino, secretary general of the Adriano Olivetti Foundation, and architect Pippo Ciorra of the MAXXI MUSEUM will tell success story of Adriano Olivetti’s company. Film Programmer at the National Audiovisual Institute KAVI, Antti Alanen, will talk about Alvar Aalto as a film aficionado, who became the chairman of the first Finnish film club called Projektio.

New technology and renewable biomaterials from Finnish forests

The future visions of the forest industry will be presented by Sebastián Hernández Maetschl, Building Development Manager of Stora Enso’s Wood Products division, and Ville Hietalahti, Senior Vice President of Stora Enso’s Enterprise Risk Management and Real Estate Finland. Designer Pirjo Kääriäinen, Associate Professor in Design and Materialities at the Aalto University, will talk about the biomaterial innovation boom in Finland; for example, how wood-based raw materials, such as cellulose, can replace oil-based raw materials and also create future markets.

Architect Charlotte Skene Catling (Skene Catling de la Peña, UK) and Adam Lowe, adjunct professor at Columbia University (USA) and founder of the Factum Foundation (Spain) will tell about the AALTOSIILO art project, and the research centre for industrial heritage which is being realised in the Aalto-designed silo building from 1931 in Toppila in Oulu. The hydropower cultural heritage project VekuVaku highlights the hydropower plants along the Oulujoki and the Luleå rivers and their communities; building researcher Samuli Paitsola will talk about the works of Alvar Aalto and Aarne Ervi along the Oulujoki river.

The symposium moderators are architect Professor Antti Ahlava from the Architecture Department at Aalto University, chairman of Docomomo Suomi Finland Petteri Kummala PhD from the Finnish Museum of Architecture and architect Tommi Lindh, CEO of Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Virtual broadcasts of the two-day English-language 15th Alvar Aalto Symposium can be followed around the world. The event is organized by the Alvar Aalto Academy in cooperation with the City of Jyväskylä and other partners.

Book your virtual ticket now here.
Tickets: virtual 2-day 88€ / students 20€.
The price of the virtual ticket includes for instance, virtual tours of Alvar Aalto’s sites. Ticket holders will have two months access to the event recordings, until 15.10.2021. There will be no live-audience, and due to the COVID-19 regulations and recommendations only virtual tickets are available. We look forward to meeting all the participants virtually next week

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

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


1. Wooden Tofu factory (2018), Village of Caizhai in Songyang (Zhejiang province), China. Architect Xu Tiantian, DnA_Design and Architecture, Beijing China. Photo©Wang Ziling.

2. Värtan Bioenergy CHP Plant-17, energy plant at Stockholm, Gottlieb Paludan Architects, UD Urban Design AB. Photo©Robin Hayes.

3. The Red Apple, mixed-use complex with apartments, offices, retail and restaurants (2002-2009), Wijnhaveineland, Rotterdam, KCAP Architects&Planners ©Michel Kievits.