Aalto University Magazine 21 – English edition

Page 1




A city moves in tune with its people p. 12

Aiming for the ideal house p. 24

Architect of happiness

Laser scanners model the world

New material for storing heat


This issue examines humancentered living environments.


12 City on the go

The needs of residents override ­ technology in urban transport planning.

20 Kai Wartiainen

Straight-talking architect designs with happiness and ecological impact in mind.

24 The ideal house

Experts tell us how we should be building in the future and how they themselves would prefer to live.

5 Openings – Antti Ahlava 6 Campus – New Year’s resolutions 8 Now – small news items, big issues 10 Oops! – Kristiina Mäkelä 11 Awarded – Erkki Oja 12 Theme – Urban transport 18 Theme – Outi Turpeinen 20 Who – Kai Wartiainen 24 Theme – The ideal house 30 Cooperation – EARLI in Africa 32 Cooperation– School as a Service 34 On science – HeatStock 36 On science – Laser scanning 39 Entrepreneurship – Avanto Technologies 40 In-house – A Grid 42 Entrepreneurship – Valo Motion 44 Cooperation – Future textiles 46 Wow! – Junction 47 Wow! – Heidi Karjalainen 48 Cooperation – Supporting doctoral school 49 Campus – Space savings 50 Doctoral theses – Olli Sahimaa 52 Everyday choices – Pia Fricker 54 Awarded – Learning Centre

Veera Konsti

Annukka Mäkijärvi Annukka Mäkijärvi



Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

On the job

“IF I NEED to, say, fix my bicycle, I can find instructional videos on how to do so on the net. It’s pretty funny that university teaching still largely leans on the lecture-based model developed a thousand years ago in Bologna. At Aalto, I’m involved in developing a solution that will help transform some teaching into a form more suitable for the video generation. A large part of basic teaching should, in my opinion, fit into a student’s pocket and be accessible 24/7. This would also leave teachers with more time and resources for teaching scenarios.” Kalle Kataila, expert, video and media in teaching; Aalto University Magazine photographer

“MY DAYS consist of so many different jobs and projects at the moment that it some times feels like small stones are hovering above me, with one of them constantly about to fall. I believe that working life was easier to manage for earlier generations because work was not so fragmented and hectic back then. My New Year’s resolution is to work less. I want to finish writing my thesis, and I hope to have more time to spend with my friends and loved ones. Keeping my resolution will not be easy because it will require me to turn down even projects, which are close to my heart.” Nita Vera, photography student; Aalto University Magazine graphic designer

PUBLISHER Aalto University, Communications EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jaakko Salavuo MANAGING EDITOR Paula Haikarainen GRAPHIC DESIGN IN THIS ISSUE Nita Vera TUTORING AD/PHOTO EDITOR Liisa Seppo, Otavamedia OMA Oy






Timo Hämäläinen, Minna Hölttä, Anttoni Jaakkola, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Jutta Kasslin, Kalle Kataila, Krista Kinnunen, Veera Konsti, Antero Kukko, Eeva Lehtinen, David Lewis, Annukka Mäkijärvi, Tiiu Pohjolainen, Matti Porre, Marjukka Puolakka, Marja Puustinen, Mikko Raskinen, Tapio Reinekoski, Kimmo Räisänen, Anu Salmi-Savilampi, Laura Siira, Aki-Pekka Sinikoski, Tapio Tuomi, Konsta Turunen, Tuomas Uusheimo, Adolfo Vera COVER Kalle Kataila TRANSLATION Ned Kelly Coogan; Kirsi Varkemaa, Viestintätoimisto Paja; Lingsoft ADDRESS PO Box 18 000, FI-00076 Aalto TELEPHONE +358 9 470 01 ONLINE aalto.fi, aalto.fi/magazine E-MAIL magazine@aalto.fi CHANGE OF ADDRESS alumni@aalto.fi PRINTING COMISSIONED BY Unigrafia Oy PRINTING Libris Oy, 2018 PREPRESS Aste Helsinki PAPER Edixion 250 g/m2 (cover) & 120 g/m2 (pages) PRINT RUN 3 000 (English edition) 32 000 (Finnish edition) ISSN 2489-6772 print ISSN 2489-6780 online


CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS ISSUE Maija Astikainen, Kimmo Brandt, Andrew Flowers, Anni Hanén, Aino Huovio,




Painotuotteet 4041 0014



I RECENTLY went to see the science ­fiction fantasy Blade Runner 2049. The film shows some ideas of what the ­Internet of Things could mean for urban life: at best, virtual friends, speech-controlled environments and marble user interfaces. At worst, mass production and remote-controlled harsh discipline. Irrespective of their contents, visions like Blade Runner underline that the ­cities of the future must be designed differently from existing ones. Could ­Otaniemi be an alluring urban environment of the future? The Aalto University campus in the Espoo district of Otaniemi is a rapidly-growing venue for cooperation. It became known for its engineers and technology, but it is now also shaping into a focal point of the business sciences as well as the arts and design sector. Accordingly, plans have recently been made in collaboration with other area actors to develop the peninsula into a vibrant neighbourhood of multidisciplinary culture. The aim is to get different functions and user groups to intermingle even more effectively with each other. Another goal is for the campus to be alive also outside of office hours. Efforts are being made to conserve the area’s cultural-historical values and even to increase natural diversity while lively additional construction and alteration works proceed. The university’s facilities are a living and working environment, but also part of what makes it attractive and gives it an identity. The buildings designed by Alvar Aalto and the Pietiläs as well as the ­Otaniemi Chapel were, at the time of their creation, avant-garde and profound ­interpretations of a framework for living in a new age. Similarly, the latest additions to the campus are closely bound with their locations and represent the distinct design language of our times. Everything emphasises the human scale, the development of natural meeting points and rest spots as well as groundlevel areas and facilities. More services and recreational options are being added in the form of, for example, new restaurants. Architecture is more than just build-

Jaakko Kahilaniemi

Individuality is our strength

ing design, it is also the development of social life. Architecture partly defines how and in what type of atmosphere people will meet. The way in which facilities are used at Aalto University provides support for working together more closely than before, a culture of sharing, encounters and diversity. We’ve been designing our premises in a participatory way for quite some time; in addition to workshops, student projects and community discussions, we arrange hackathons, for example, to gather viable campus development ideas from our students and researchers. Paradoxical opposites are an advantage for Otaniemi and a guarantee of its vibrancy. Otaniemi is mercurial and original – simultaneously part of the city and of untamed nature. Here you can find highway terrain and back-alley ­urbanity, ­uniform brick architecture and curiosities like Dipoli. Otaniemi has state-ofthe-art ­technology and humane vividness. The development of our campus leans on, contrastingly, both strategic planning and spontaneous user needs. Otaniemi is concurrently a very local and a specialised global player. Places that have an effervescent nature like this, which are ­welcoming of contrast-

ing approaches and ideas, are precisely where creative activities can flourish. Well thought-out and diverse planning encourages open-mindedness and boldness. By 2049, our peninsula has the potential to develop into the opposite of Blade Runner’s technocratic urban dystopia – we can become a uniquely humane district of individualistic creative culture and verdant urban life. Antti Ahlava Vice President (campus development), Professor of Emergent Design Methodologies AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21 \ 5


Photos and text: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

Otaniemi stories presents people from Otaniemi (#otaniemistories). Our photographer shoots and chats with people he meets on campus. This time, the topic of conversation was New Year’s resolutions.

Towards the ne

“AALTO UNIVERSITY is an insanely great place. There’s so much diverse expertise here that we can, pretty much, do what we want. Even though there’s no shortage of passion and competence, it’s important that we students don’t burn ourselves out before we even transition to improving and changing society in working life. We work with great passion, which makes it especially important that we measure our jobs and projects ­ to match our own ability to cope. My New Year’s resolution is that the Student Union will institute various measures in 2018 to promote the well­ being of our whole community in cooperation with the university.” Noora Vänttinen, Aalto University Student Union Board Chair 2018

“I CAME to Aalto University to steer the great digital communications reform. The goal is to build the world’s finest university portal, which will benefit our entire community by making studying, working and communications easier and more effective. We’ll release the first version of the portal in 2018. This will then form the foundation on which the digital expansion of the campus will be implemented in accordance with our phased plan. It’s nice to lead a project that will make the lives of all of us here easier.” Robert Salvén, digital communications 6 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

“I WORK on developing the university’s recruitment.

I’m not ashamed to say that I love Aalto University and have strong faith in its values. My job is to make the right people aware of how great the things that are being done here are. We want to be as attractive a workplace as possible, so that Aalto can be a meeting point for the very best in their fields, whether that field be studying, teaching, research or services. This is why part of my work involves headhunting people from around the world – we want the hardest possible hitters to come here.” Jukka-Pekka Kevätsalo, HR Expert, School of Business doctoral candidate

w year

“ENCOUNTERS, DISCUSSIONS and wellbeing work.

People can come talk to us, Aalto chaplains, irrespective of their religion or beliefs. We’re not here to proclaim, but to listen and assist. Many feel that it’s easier to talk to us about, for example, study-related problems because we are, in a sense, from outside the academic scene. Major changes in every­day life or losing a loved one are other situations that can be hard to handle alone. When something like that happens, you can call or email us to agree a meeting. And it’s of course fine to approach me on the corridors to just say hello and chat about whatever.” Anu Morikawa, Aalto University chaplain

“I’VE BEEN involved in the Junction hackaton for the last three years. It has become much more than just a job for me. I actually refer to my dear group of friends and the community that has grown around Junction and the whole of Startup Sauna as my home base, as it’s a sort of a base of operations for me. However, my New Year’s resolution is to take a leap into the unknown and vacate my spot for a fresh pair of hands. I feel a bit tense facing a new direction and countless possibilities. What will I do? What else might I be good at? What kind of professional identity will I evolve in my new role? While pondering these questions, it feels really good that I’ll always have the community’s support, also after I depart on a fresh path.” Anna Brchisky, Head of Marketing & Comms, Junction

“THE LEARNING CENTRE’S renovation was launched as a service design project in which we charted the wishes, opinions and daily routines of our clients, the students especially. This formed the basis on which we then started to consider what the Learning Centre could ­provide them. The students have received the facilities very well after the completion of the renovation, and the project was even awarded the Finlandia Prize for Architecture. Regardless of the project’s already awarded architecture, my New Year’s resolution is that the Centre will never be so finished that we’ll stop listening to our clients’ wishes about how the building could be developed further. We have, in fact, already adapted the facilities in response to the feedback we’ve received.” Risto Maijala, Operating Manager, Harald Herlin Learning Centre AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21 \ 7


Construction of a quantum computer begins — group will begin the development of a scalable quantum computer in Finland. The objective is to first build a quantum processor, which can be scaled, i.e. made into a larger processor, in the future. No one has yet been able to build a quantum computer, which is capable of solving practical problems extremely quickly. “A large-scale quantum computer will make the impossible possible. It will be able to quickly solve extraordinarily difficult problems, which would take conventional computers over a billion years to solve,” explains Möttönen. Möttönen’s group received a total of €950 000 in funding from the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation and Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. A quantum computer makes use of quantum mechanics in computation. It can be used to model, among other things, chemical compounds and reactions such as pharmaceuticals and fertilisers in an entirely new way. “If we could precisely simulate chemical reactions using a computer, we wouldn’t need to go over every single alternative in the lab”, explains Möttönen.

Jan Goetz/Aalto University

DOCENT MIKKO Möttönen’s working

Photo of the centimetre-sized silicon chip which has three separate superconducting quantum bits.

Aalto University has strong research expertise in quantum technology. At the turn of the year, Aalto opened an Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Quantum Technology, whose group heads are also involved in the development of a quantum computer.

In addition, researchers from the University of Turku and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are also part of the working group. With the nearly one million euros in funding, the group will be to begin development of a quantum computer, but not bring it to completion.

Jari Saramäki, Talayeh Aledavood

Night owls have larger social networks than early birds — USING ANONYMOUS mobile phone data,

Doctor of Science Talayeh Aledavood has tapped into patterns in people’s behaviour. She has found out that our inherent periods of sleep during a 24hour-period correlate with the size of our social networks and how much we are in contact with others. Night owls – people who go to sleep late – tend to have wider social networks than morning persons. Night owls are also more central in their own networks and – distinctively more than early birds – stick to their kind and interact with others who stay up late. Aledavood has used such digital traces to investigate people’s patterns of behaviour. Times of sleep can be inferred from periods of no smartphone use. The timing of calls made to friends and the size of our social networks, based on calls, texts, 8 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

or emails, reveal our social habits. It’s a lot harder to get accurate information like this from surveys and it’s possible to widen the scope of the study up to entire countries. Aledavood’s research findings may very well open a way to understand and treat mental health issues. Data collected and linked together from mobile devices, active social media use and other digital platforms could work as indicators for different mental disorders. The ultimate goal is to develop automated systems that can help patients to seek professional help before their condition turns severe. The privacy and information security of all study participants and particularly patients are crucial. “The data collection method has been designed to secure people’s privacy from the get-go. Privacy matters of course in

Night owls (blue) are more central than early birds (orange) in their social networks. Each circle represents one person, and the lines connecting the circles are indicative of interactions (phone calls) between them.

all walks of our digital lives, and unlike the multitude of openly available mobile phone apps that are not scientifically validated or ethically approved, future research and clinical use of our methods will go through strict ethical evaluation.” Talayeh Aledavood will continue her research at the Helsinki University Hospital.

UN Technology Innovation Lab and European Space Agency accelerator moving to A Grid — AALTO UNIVERSITY’S new center for

European Space Agency ESA’s business accelerator will give impetus to the growing space-technology-based entrepreneurship in Finland. The aim is to support 50 national startups in the next five years. “As a significant research community, strong promoter of entrepreneurship, and already involved in many space technology projects, Aalto University is for us a natural and highly valued partner for such a centre,” said ESA Director General Jan Wörner, who visited Helsinki in connection with the technology event Slush.

A thorough renovation of the energy sector — 23 FINNISH experts from differ-

Mikko Raskinen

growth companies A Grid gets renowned community members, as the world’s first UN Technology Innovation Lab and the European Space Agency’s business accelerator start operating at the Otaniemi campus. The UN laboratory focuses on circular economy, education, peace and security, and health. The global lab network is growing in 2018, and each lab will focus on different thematic areas that are central to the need of each lab’s specific geolocation. The labs create a platform for problem-solving between the UN, private sector, academia and civil society, with the help of startups.

ent sectors of society were brought together for an energy transition arena. In their final report, the experts suggest that the energy sector is in need of a through renovation. The leading thesis is that Finland needs to act in a determined way to phase out fossil fuels fast. Untapped potential is seen in increasing demand side response in electricity and heat, energy storage, microscale renewable energy production and energy renovation of the existing building stock. The aim is to turn energy consumers into more active players. However, the change requires plenty of smart technology and new services. It would also be important to open the district heating networks of large cities for competition. As a quick first step district heating companies that burn coal should be obliged to acquire a certain portion of their sales from renewable or waste heat from third parties. Experts are also taking a stand in the report on many debates in energy policy. With respect to wood resources, they see that the best strategy is one in which it is developed primarily into products of high added value, with energy production taking a minor role. For the heat sector they propose extensive electrification, and in transport, the goal would be for Finland would have 750 000 cars using alternative forms of energy in 2030, which is 2.5 times higher than Finland’s official target. The energy transition arena project was organised by Aalto University and The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Europe’s largest startup and technology event Slush gathered again over 20 000 visitors from all over the world to Helsinki. The Aalto community was represented in multiple ways at the student-run spectacle. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21 \ 9


No milk today,

Lehman went away…

Provost Kristiina Mäkelä and her family got to witness and be a part of a significant world event.

“WE WERE living in London in the autumn of 2008. I had left Hanken for a British university as part of a research exchange, and my husband was working for the American investment banking giant Lehman Brothers. One Friday night, he returned from a long business trip to Asia and said he had a feeling that Lehman might be sold over the weekend. But something else happened – following some rapid developments, the bank went bust instead. It was the biggest bankruptcy in history. The situation dawned on us late on Sunday evening. My husband left for the office on Monday morning, but everyone was told to go home later that day. We were at the focal point of a historic tumult. For example, you can spot my husband in some of the iconic video clips of the Lehman employees pouring out of the company’s doors. Payday was just a few days away, but they were not able to pay anyone’s salaries. There were more than £10k in unreimbursed travel expenses – all about to fall due on my husband’s credit card. Just thinking about London rents and prices was enough to make you break into a cold sweat. Our only option was to hit the panic button: we cancelled everything we could and told the school that sorry, but we probably won’t be able to pay the tuition fees. We cancelled our gym memberships and even told the milkman not to come. The first week was quite crazy, but the tangle started to unravel after a buyer was found for Lehman’s European assets. The salaries were paid, too – three weeks late, but paid nonetheless. And we were far from alone: the bank had had more than 26 000 employees around the world, although my husband was the only Finn working in London. He found another job in a few weeks, starting work at the turn of the year, and the next summer it was time for us to move back to ­Finland. This – and generally the accumulation of life experience – has boosted my faith in how things have a tendency to work out eventually. There’s no point in worrying about events excessively, but it is a good idea to have a plan B, and maybe even ­a plan C and D as well.” 10 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21


Text: Paula Haikarainen Photo: Kalle Kataila Illustration: Annukka Mäkijärvi


Nokia Foundation awarded Professor Erkki Oja Professor Emeritus Erkki Oja’s work is pioneering in machine learning, pattern recognition and neural networks.

Text: Tapio Reinekoski Photo: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski FOR DECADES, the Finnish scientific community has

been strongly involved in the development of machine learning, neural networks and algorithms. “Professor Erkki Oja is one of the pioneers in the fields, and his scientific merits are significant. He has guided numerous researchers and engineers of this field in their studies and scientific work. Oja is the perfect example for the future makers of technology,” describes Timo Ali-Vehmas, Chairman of the Board of Nokia Foundation. He granted the award in the Nokia Foundation anniversary celebration in November. When Oja started his scientific career in the 1970s and 1980s, Finnish companies were not familiar with artificial intelligence. Functional methods were mainly developed in research institutes, until Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation began to systematically introduce artificial intelligence into the business world. During the 1990s, Oja was involved, for example, with a learning and intelligent systems technology programme that applied neural networks, fuzzy logic and Bayesian statistical reasoning to the problems of large technology companies. In addition to other companies, Oja and his group have cooperated with Nokia for over 20 years.

AI research strong in Finland

According to Erkki Oja, artificial intelligence research and its utilisation are in the throes of change. Large technology companies are investing in various artifi-

cial intelligence methods and there is huge demand for experts in machine learning, deep neural networks and data science. “Only recently have companies and startups emerged in Finland that do not depend on university research. Instead, they recruit skilled people and develop their own applications, which are based on artificial intelligence,” says Oja. “The world is changing: we see new smart products and services, for example tools for automatic speech recognition and translation that are already in the markets. Companies improve their operation by targeting advertising with the help of big data and machine learning using vast amounts of collected data.” The Finnish tradition of artificial intelligence research and cooperation with companies, which dates back to the 1970s, is further strengthened when the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence, established by Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, will launch its activities in the beginning of year 2018. “The state of artificial intelligence research is excellent both in Aalto and Finland in general – and world class in the new Center, based on several research indicators. The amount of artificial intelligence research is higher in Finland than in the other Nordic countries and the rest of the world, when compared to other areas of computer science,” says Erkki Oja. •




Imaging the future of urban transport When planning the urban transport modes of tomorrow, we should be open to imaging entirely new possibilities. Text: Andrew Flowers Illustration: Kalle Kataila




Aalto’s main campus in Otaniemi received a massive boost in November 2017 with the opening of the new Aalto University metro station. Part of the westward extension of Helsinki’s distinctive orange-themed metro system, it’s one of eight new stops that breathe fresh life into the city’s transport network. The new stations are design and engineering masterpieces; vast caverns of space and light set deep underground and undersea, offering a glimpse into the future of a transport strategy for greater Helsinki that’s grounded in efficiency, sustainability and open minded­ness. “As with many things, a healthy attitude towards moving from A to B begins in childhood,” says Helsinki traffic and street planning director, Reetta Putkonen. “So if we can create an environment where children are able to walk safely to school, and take the bus or train from an early age, then I believe they will carry such behaviour with them as they grow up. This has clear longer-term benefits, both for their own health and in their attitudes towards traffic pollution and congestion.”

People before vehicles

Putkonen’s view exemplifies the holistic perspective that forward-thinking city planners take when it comes to urban mobility. If a transport network is the lifeblood of a city, then the people 14 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

using that network are part of a larger organism that needs to be viewed in its totality. When one looks at it this way, designing public transportation becomes about much more than just planning the fastest route from home to work, or embracing the latest in transport technology just because it’s available. When traffic networks are correctly viewed as structures that influence our quality of life, our health and the natural world around us – as systems that are inseparable from the lives of the people that use them – then planning can take place at a level that puts people’s well-being before any single technology or mode of transport. “I think it’s quite telling that in many artists’ impressions of future cities – where all the cars are self-driving – there are often not many people in the pictures,” says Putkonen. “Cities will always first and foremost be for people; not for some specific style of transport or type of car. It’s easy to forget this when we become excited about technology and the possibilities it offers.” “The fact is that no city planner knows exactly what transport needs will look like in the future, and I think it would be a mistake to believe we are able to know,” says Putkonen. “What we can do though – as we are doing in Helsinki – is prepare for the future with human-centric planning that doesn’t adhere to any single model at the expense of another. That’s why we are studying and investing in five modes: walking, cycling, public transport, cars, and goods-delivery vehicles.”


Health & safety first

This multimode model seems a prudent approach, especially when looking at cities that have emphasized one mode at the expense of another. For example, people living in vehicle-centric cities – like Jakarta, Istanbul, São Paulo and Los Angeles, to name but a few – are exposed to dangerously high levels of emissions, while drivers must endure congested traffic for many hours each day. Aside from the respiratory-tract infections and cancers caused by particulate pollution, there are a host of negative mental and physical effects associated with sitting in a vehicle for long periods. These include stress, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and other avoidable conditions. When confronted by these obvious negative outcomes, we may want to jump entirely in the other direction and go allin on healthier modes of transport, such as cycling. But an overly bicycle-centric approach in a city can cause problems

of its own, as evidence from the Nether­ lands would suggest. There the sheer volume of cyclists – coupled with the fact that bikeways and walkways are not always adequately separated – means that bicycles are involved in a remarkably high proportion of accidents with pedestrians. Cycling has been over emphasized at the expense of people on foot.

The constraint of space

In the absence of a balanced approach to public transit like Helsinki’s, it’s tempting to believe that new technologies – such as self-driving cars – hold the answers for those cities where vehicle congestion and pollution are such a problem. Emission-free cars that can constantly calculate and re-calculate to find the quickest route, drive closer together for faster traffic flows, and eliminate the need for parking in city centres

– these are just some of the oft-touted benefits of autonomous vehicles. Many such benefits may indeed come to be realized and enjoyed by people in the years to come. But they still fail to adequately address one of the biggest constraints of all in city planning: finite space. This constraint is among the principal concerns for transport-planning academics like Professor Claudio Roncoli from the Aalto University School of Engineering. He cautions against the widespread belief that new vehiclebased solutions will automatically be the panacea congested cities have been waiting for. “We seem to have this notion that as soon as we inject self-driving vehicles into traffic, everything will run smoothly,” says Roncoli. “But this is by no means a given. What we are in fact AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21 \ 15

WALKING, CYCLING, CARS seeing in our studies is that the current technology trajectory may actually just make congestion worse.” Roncoli makes the point that many new and future transport solutions – including apps for ride or car sharing, and the concept of on-demand autonomous vehicles – have their origins in the IT sector, where the main constraints are bandwidth and connectivity; constraints that are easily addressed by adding more network capacity, as well as by the march of technology itself into the 5G era. Physical space constraints cannot be addressed in the same way. “When there are relatively few users of these new mobility services, everything will run smoothly. But there will always be structural limitations as to how much traffic can efficiently move within a given area. So how will these solutions scale up?” asks Roncoli. “What happens when everyone wants the same service at the same time? There are not infinite cars. There is not infinite space.”

the imagination, experiences and needs of the individual, instead of applying a one-size-fits all approach to determining our transport choices. “Conventional engineering and transport planning follow a utilitarian way of thinking where we plan the city to maximise the sum of benefits, minus the sum of burdens,” says Mladenovic. “This is sometimes very useful – when we are discussing the reduction of total greenhouse gas emissions, for example – but it fails to acknowledge that there is an unequal distribution of these burdens and benefits. When we are reflecting on the common good, we should not forget the experience of the individual.” “At the end of the day our planning processes are still very centrally driven,” says Mladenovic. “We haven’t been significantly tapping into citizens’ know­ ledge or citizens’ visions of the future, or even establishing mechanisms that will allow us to start imagining alternative and desirable futures. I believe that in this field we are vastly under-utilizing the wisdom of the crowd.” Tapping into the crowd Mladenovic says Helsinki is at the What is the best way then to work out fore­front of participatory planning praca sustainable way forward? How can we address these universal constraints with- tices, with citizens’ input typically taken into account as part of the city’s planning out falling into the trap of believing that processes. However, he says that efforts technology will automatically be to engage people specifically in deliberour saving grace? Claudio Roncoli’s colating about transport technologies have rarely occurred anywhere in the world. league and fellow trans“Technology only gives us opportuniport planner, Professor Milos Mladenovic, is ties,” he says. “But we still need to imagchallenging city planine those opportunities, so that we avoid just copying solutions from elsewhere ners – including himself that may not be the best ones for a given – to recognize that more environment…” should be done to tap into 16 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21


Increased investment, ambitious targets It’s easy to imagine that Helsinki – with its exemplary public transport network – could be where Milos Mladenovic’s vision of participatory decision-making develops in the coming years, as the city continues to build on its multi-mode transport strategy. Increased investment in rail travel is central to this strategy, and the construction of a further five metro stations is already well underway, while even faster trams are planned for the inner city.

There will also be additional investment in cycling, with the city’s budget for year-round maintenance of bike lanes and the creation of dedicated bike parking zones set to rise from €10 million to €20 million. Currently, 10% of all trips undertaken in Helsinki are by bicycle. This is already remarkably high compared to many other European cities, especially considering that agree­ able biking weather lasts for at most three quarters of the year. Nevertheless, the city has set extremely ambitious targets on cycling, stating that 15% of all

trips are to be by bike in 2020, with the proportion rising to 20% by 2025. “The most important thing the public sector can do is create a city where you don’t need to use your car if you don’t want to or don’t have one,” says Reetta Putkonen. “This is one of the key principles that guides our thinking, and it will continue to do so for many years to come.” •



The radical percent

Percent art will bring wellbeing, travellers and new ideas to the campus, says Art Coordinator Outi Turpeinen. Text: Minna Hölttä Photo: Jaakko Kahilaniemi


he grand ceremonial staircase is a challenging space for contemporary art: there’s little wall space, lots of wood and nature intrudes from the wall-to-ceiling windows. Perhaps that’s why it feels like, at first glance, that Color Space–Color Lensing Blind is in a strange place. It’s colourful and made with acrylics, a material that is often used in, for example, lighted advertising signs. Art Coordinator Outi Turpeinen stands on the landing and says the piece is the handiwork of Hans-Christian Berg. “This space called for something big and powerful, a sharp contrast.” Berg’s work is one of the first art acquisitions made by Aalto University on the basis of the percent principle, a model that is gaining popularity around the world under which about one percent of a construction project’s budget will be spent on art. It is also a part of a Finnish government spearhead project, which aims to make art an aspect of the everyday lives of as many Finns as possible. Aalto is the first – and so far the only – Finnish university to make a commitment to observe the principle in all of its construction projects, from new buildings to renovations. The decision to commit to the percent principle was made last spring by Aalto’s then President Tuula Teeri following an initiative by Vice President and Dean of the School Arts, Design and Architecture Anna Valtonen. Dipoli, which was just renovated to serve as the university’s new main build18 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

ing, was a natural choice for a pilot project. Outi Turpeinen cooperated with Valtonen to find suitable, interesting artists for it. All of the selected artworks are made by Aalto graduates who have already achieved success in their careers. The three largest works were made specifically for Dipoli. Berg used acrylics in his piece, while Renata Jakowleff made her sparkly work Blue out of glass and Inni Pärnänen bent plywood to make the flowers in her piece Keto. “I felt it was important to bring tangible materials here to counteract the everpresent digitalisation,” Turpeinen says.

Challenging good taste

The glowing pink and orange, yellow and green, blue and violet strokes of Berg’s acrylic piece mimic the vertical lines of the window frames and the large pine trees beyond. Turpeinen mentions that the artist also picked the bright colours of his work from the nature of Finland. “Hans-Christian lives in the countryside and works a lot with colour and light. He, like the other artists, was enormously inspired by Dipoli’s architecture and its Radical Nature art concept.” The art concept is like a thread that unites the collection’s pieces. Turpeinen

started her search for the concept at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, where she delved into the history of Dipoli. The building, designed by Raili and Reima Pietilä, was completed in 1966 as the student union building of the Helsinki University of Technology, attracting many accolades as well as harsh criticism. The ideal architecture of the time was black and white, reduced, and streamlined. Concrete brutalism was also in its heyday. What the Pietiläs created, however, was a representation of organic architecture, a design that took advantage of natural shapes, colours and structural solutions. The exterior walls of Dipoli are devoid of straight angles and there’s just two windows of the same size. Large granite blocks anchor it to the surrounding terrain. Turpeinen says the Pietiläs wanted Dipoli to challenge preconceptions of good taste. “Nature and the radical, both of these are very strongly present here. Radical Nature also speaks for the significance of our relationship with nature, and of how radically important a matter the future of the environment is for us all.” In addition to the large, place-specific

commissioned artworks, there are more than 25 photographic pieces at Dipoli. Turpeinen found them with help from Professor Timothy Persons and Lecturer Marko Karo. A three-strong committee consisting of Anna Valtonen, Ateneum Art Museum Director and Aalto University Board member Susanna Pettersson, and President Tuula Teeri decided on the art acquisitions. They wanted Dipoli to have artworks that encourage fresh thinking and discoveries in students, staff and guests. Turpeinen is proud of their choices – even if they won’t please everyone. “Studies demonstrate that public art increases wellbeing, but it can also arouse feelings of many kinds, even of irritation. I think it’s always good if art gives you something to think about.”

Lots of investment

Public art will soon be all over Otaniemi, as the campus is the locus of lots of rapidly proceeding major construction work. Turpeinen is already working full steam on the School of Arts, Design and Architecture’s Väre building, which will be completed in the spring, as well as a new School of Business building due for completion in 2019. Each will have

its own art concept, which will take account of the building’s architecture and intended use. Väre combines red brick and glass, and it will house the university’s artistic activities and teaching as well as the Metro Centre A Bloc with its shops and restaurants. Some 12 000 passengers use the adjacent metro station every day. “Väre is exciting as a building, but challenging from the perspective of art. After all, permanent, place-specific art has to endure both contentually and technically for decades.” Outi Turpeinen believes that the investment will yield not only enhanced wellbeing and fresh ideas, but also boost campus visitor numbers. There are a lot of artworks around the world that have become popular tourist attractions. In addition to building interiors, Turpeinen wants to see art placed also around the magnificent outdoor areas of Otaniemi. “We have to bear in mind that Otaniemi is no longer being developed with just Aalto in mind, as more and more consideration is being given to, for example, schoolchildren and businesses as well. The vision for the future sees this place inhabited by people ranging from babies to oldsters.” •

Focus on one staggering work

1 When planning a public art acquisition, first familiarise yourself with the building’s architecture and history.

2 Consider what you want the works to communicate. At Aalto, for example, acquired artworks are strongly associated with the university’s vision and strategy.

3 Think about the piece’s lifespan. A politically themed work may be topical now – but will this be the case five years from now?

4 Be critical and courageous. Publicity is no guarantee of quality – although quality can be a matter of taste, too. Don’t be afraid to invest in one staggering piece instead of many small works.




Architect of happiness Finnish architect Kai Wartiainen is based in Sweden, where he is known not only as an ecological designer, but also as a radical thinker. Text: Krista Kinnunen Photos: Maija Astikainen


AI WARTIAINEN graduated as

an architect from the Helsinki ­University of Technology in 1981. Since the 1990s, he has made his career in Sweden and internationally. These days, he is a partner in a Finnish-­ Swedish group of companies and works out of Stockholm. Wartiainen wants to shake up urban design and environmental thinking. He took an interest in environmental issues in the 1970s, when the Club of Rome, an international debate forum, published its report The Limits to Growth. It was a serious warning urging humanity to take action on environmental problems. Wartiainen’s entire career is based on strong ecological beliefs. He thinks that being ecological is too often viewed as utopian and boring, event though it should be considered enticing.

Happiness and ecological orientation are primary concerns Towards the end of the 1990s, Kai ­Wartiainen was in charge of a study, which defined assessment criteria for Finland’s first ecological residential area Eko-Viikki. His working group developed the PIMWAG criteria, which assess

a building’s ecological impact from the perspective of pollutants, natural resources, healthiness, biodiversity and nutrition. Wartiainen is also behind “the method of three logics”, according to which a city should be developed simultaneously from the ecological, social and technical viewpoints. For him, happiness, security and the self-organising renewal of nature are the central factors of planning. While serving as Professor of Urban Planning at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 1997–2006, Wartiainen and his students studied several locations starting with the goal of identifying an ideal natural state for the area through which ecological benefits could be maximised. They would then smash this ideal by adapting the totality from the perspectives of technical and social goals. They were then assigned example customers like construction companies, which had the goal of maximising the profitability of building. The end result was always ecologically superior to the starting point. His student assignments also examined demolishing all of Stockholm’s highrise suburbs. It turned out that switch-

ing the stock of buildings to ground-level housing would save a surprisingly large amount of land. In addition, Wartiainen has been involved in a substantial project in which the entire town of Gällivare, Sweden, was moved to make way for a mine. The wishes of residents were surveyed during the planning phase of the new town. The politicians were horrified to discover that something radical would have to be done in order to convince future generations to move back to Gällivare – it would not be enough to just build daycare centres. All of a sudden, the left and the right had a common interest: how to prevent a wave of retirees leaving to be closer to their grandchildren. Kai Wartiainen thinks that, instead of topics like traffic volumes or other technical issues, urban planning debate should start from the perspective of ­happiness.

A living city

Wartiainen has been criticising Helsinki’s urban planning for almost his entire career. What should be done differently? “Everything should change. People want a yard of their own or, alternatively, AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21 \ 21

Kai Wartiainen designed the High Tech Center business park in Helsinki’s Ruoholahti district. It consists of five buildings, which are named after famous exploration vessels.

to live in the centre. But what’s cheapest is something that lies between these two, so suburban development is allowed to steamroll over people’s dreams and any ecologically sustainable solutions.” Wartiainen criticises urban planning for observing the wrong kinds of norms and emphasises the development of ­environmental uniqueness. “Norms are a jungle in which it is easy to get lost, and an indication of laziness – of an unwillingness to study society to see what it’s really like. All norms are already hopelessly outdated at birth because they have been created by looking backward,” Wartiainen harrumphs. He says urban planning in its current form intentionally produces housing shortages and maximises ugly outcomes. The city’s natural, historical layers and uniqueness have been lost. The totality is not grasped when decisions are made, and joining random ideal components results in an unworthy whole. “They should start from the centre, which is then expand outward, instead of the other way around. Now, they’re busy making boulevards of the access roads on the outskirts of the city, which is preposterous and leads to an outcome that is the exact opposite of what was intended,” Wartiainen laments. For him, the core question is how to enliven the city centre so that it attracts people. 22 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

“They can’t even lure any EU agencies to Helsinki because there isn’t enough restaurants and other urban fun stuff that people demand of a city centre.”

Uncompromising pioneer

Kai Wartiainen says he at times feels unable to combine his ecological ideas with practical work. Sometimes his uncompromising environmental thoughts have also stemmed the flow of interesting commissions. The way he calculates a building’s ideal energy consumption has often been considered ­radical, unnecessary or impossible to realise. Without being overly sarcastic, Wartiainen notes that the current energy consumption figures of buildings correspond with the numbers he put forward long ago. Now, the challenges have just moved a few notches further. “I won a design contest in Norrköping in 1986–87, but it was 30 years before I got to realise my first work there. Back in the day, they told me that I was a really nice person, but clearly out of my mind,” he chuckles. Wartiainen took part in another design contest when building plans were once again activated in Norrköping in 2013. The challenge was to conserve an old industrial milieu and to take advantage of the river, which flows through the site, as a building location. Wartiainen and his partners won the

contest. In 2016, the Katscha apartment building won the biggest real estate accolade in the world, the MIPIM Award, as well as the Housing Prize at the Architectural Awards of Architects Sweden. Wartiainen thinks a distinct spirit must be created for an area: the kind of environment that people want to come see. He mentions Catholic Europe, where a certain kind of chaos draws people in. As an example, he points to Venice, whose attraction is based on the fact that it is something entirely different from the environment that people have at home. “Purely rational design produces nothing but rubbish. The central part of a design must always be inspiringly ­irrational.”

_ • Kai Wartiainen (b. 1953) is a Finnish architect and professor. • His works include the High Tech Center in Helsinki’s Ruoholahti district and the Grani shopping centre in Kauniainen. • Professor of Urban Planning at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, 1997–2006. • In 2000, he and his wife, the architect Ingrid Reppen, founded a design firm in Stockholm, which adopted the name arkitektur + development in 2011. • Winner of several international awards.



The ideal house Hybrid structures, intelligence and solar power. Wood, safety and natural light. Eight Aalto experts tell us how we might be building in the future – and how they themselves would like to live. Text: Minna Hölttä Illustration: Annukka Mäkijärvi





The ideal house Hybrid structures, intelligence and solar power. Wood, safety and natural light. Eight Aalto experts tell us how we might be building in the future – and how they themselves would like to live. Text: Minna Hölttä Illustration: Annukka Mäkijärvi





Natural light and a sense of security

“MY WORK focuses on basic housing research and housing design. A central

“I TEACH the fundamentals and theory of

aspect in both is the charting of preferences. I’ve been in charge of a townhouse research project, which examined, among other things, how urban lowrise buildings would suit Finland and the desires of the Finnish people. Urbanisation is a powerful trend that isn’t really compatible with the traditional Finnish dream of living in a single-family home, making it necessary to identify fresh alternatives. The project had experts of various fields develop a basic townhouse concept suitable for Finnish conditions that could be used in the design of standard type-planned houses and thus speed up the construction of urban low-rise buildings. It is very important that our homes are adaptable – otherwise we might some day have on hand an enormous volume of properties, which cannot be utilised. Adaptability can also be boosted by taking the wishes of occupants into better consideration in the early stages of the design process. My ideal house would be relatively open, adaptable to different life situations and ecologically sensible. For me, being ecological doesn’t mean cramming myself into a minihome; instead, it can mean that, say, modern technology manages the heating smartly and the house is designed in a way, which takes advantage of natural light as efficiently as possible. Being close to nature doesn’t necessitate a move to the countryside – vegetation and soft surfaces can be introduced also to urban environments by developing the urban structure.”

architecture, in addition to which I own my own architecture firm as well as co-own a firm with Saija Hollmén and Helena Sandman. Ten years ago, we established an NGO called Ukumbi, which provides architectural services to communities that cannot afford to hire an architect, especially in the developing countries. Architecture builds a reality derived from the values and ideals of our time. My goal is to study, together with my students, how that reality could be presented in as dignified and sustainable a manner as possible. Current building regulations and their energy-efficiency requirements have brought about a situation in which we are building houses that jeopardise people’s health. At the same time, we’re demolishing what was built 50 years ago for allegedly being not worth fixing, even though it is precisely history and layers that

make our environment pleasant and interesting. There is an unfortunate amount of architecture around the world that makes people feel small and lonely. By contrast, the architecture of the ideal house makes you feel valued and safe. Natural light, the right temperature and fresh air should be taken as given – even though darkness, too, has its place when measured in the right dose. The tendency to favour new synthetic materials can easily go too far, as people long for beautifully ageing and fragrant materials that elicit emotions and memories. Flavours and scents ­remain in our memory for the longest, and many people can sense them unawares. I, for example, have a clear childhood memory of the salty taste of old timber.” Professor Jenni Reuter, Department of Architecture

Professor Hannu Huttunen, Department of Architecture

Silent and wired to go Clean energy all year round “MY JOB is to speed up the market entry of clean technologies

and services. Municipalities and businesses will only consider investing in renewable energy if it is profitable over a reasonable timespan. The viability of solar panels, for example, can be analysed using a counter we have developed that makes it easy to look up an investment’s interest revenue and payback period. We contributed to the reform of the electricity tax and other measures that have caused solar power to start growing here in Finland, too. ­Development has been rapid, as installed capacity has doubled for ­ t­he third year in a row. We also organised an energy transition seminar, which supplied decision-makers with proposals on how to overhaul the sector. My ideal house would be built primarily out of wood and other breathing materials, and it would function using only clean energy sources all year round. It would be equipped with solar panels, solar heat collectors and ­an automated demand response system. In addition, the house would be, via the district heating and cooling networks, hooked up to a large heat pump owned by a cooperative formed by the neighbourhood blocks as well as a ­connected geothermal well reaching to a depth of a few kilometres. The well would serve as a kind of seasonal store into which excess summer heat would be deposited for winter use. I would also be a shareholder in a nearby seashore wind energy park. And, naturally, an electric car would be parked in the yard where its ­batteries could be charged with solar or wind power.” Researcher Karoliina Auvinen, the Finsolar and Smart Energy Transition projects

“MY FIELD is acoustics, room acoustics in particular. My group

and I have studied, for example, concert halls extensively to identify what type of hall best supports the music. My research is increasingly focusing on people’s own observations. I study how a space affects sound and how, in fact, sound is perceived. Besides room acoustics, i.e. ­the manner in which sound moves and reflects off surfaces, this also needs to take account of psychoacoustics, or how people perceive sound. And, of course, you need audio and measuring technology as well. Human hearing is a complex thing. For example, the audiometric tests developed to measure hearing loss only tell a partial story: a person may do well in the test, but still be unable to follow speech in a noisy space. We are, in fact, developing better diagnostic procedures in cooperation with physicians. In Finland, silence is surely the most important quality ofan ideal house – people don’t want to hear sounds from the street or the neighbours in their homes. You need to be careful with soundproofing. It was common practice to not proof ventilation channels in older apartment buildings, which is why you could hear what the neighbours were chatting about through the kitchen extractor fan. When building, it is wise to ensure that the radiator network, for example, isn’t installed in a way that carries sound. You’ll often hear an echo when viewing an empty house, but that shouldn’t be a concern because the furniture and textiles of an ordinary home will usually dampen sound so well that there’s no need to separately design the acoustic properties. Five-metre high loft apartments with their large windows, on the other hand, are quite the different story. I would advise music lovers to consider sound reproduction. It is easier to install in-wall or in-ceiling speakers around the home if the wiring issue has already been resolved during the building phase.” Professor Tapio Lokki, Department of Computer Science




Suitably intelligent

“I STUDY intelligent buildings, and especial-

ly how to integrate various systems from lighting to locking and camera surveillance in a way that makes them as effortless to use as possible. A suitable user interface plays a key role in this – should devices be controlled via push buttons or a touch screen, by speech or, perhaps, gesturing? In the past, I spent a lot of time researching lighting, which is why I’d first think about that for my ideal house. Smart planning is where it all gets started: you don’t just slap a lamp in ­ the middle of the ceiling, instead you design the lighting to suit the space in question. Development is trending towards more compact housing and multi-purpose spaces, making it possible to work and cook or sleep and watch movies in one and the same room. This makes it important that lighting can also be adjusted according to need. The ideal intelligent house must, of course, pay attention to energy consumption. A powerbased pricing system is likely to be adopted in the future for electricity transmission in particular. For this reason, it would be wise to design buildings in a way that enables automation to schedule the use of electrical equipment for the most appropriate time of day. This would also make it possible to optimise the utilisation of electricity produced by any solar panels installed. The security and heating systems could of course be controlled also remotely with a smart phone, for example. It is important to give some thought to what amount of intelligence is enough for each object – I myself wouldn’t want a fridge that sends me shopping lists, but a well-functioning security system would help me feel at ease during holidays.” Professor of Practice Jaakko Ketomäki, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation

Breathing and carefree

Low-emission materials and natural light “MY SPECIALIST field is indoor air quality and the factors that affect it. At the moment, one of the things we are researching is the impact various interior environment factors, such as the building and surface treatment materials used, have on the perceived and measured quality of indoor air. Our research projects are often interdisciplinary, and eleven of my postgraduate students are experts in different fields. Good building requires a diverse array of expertise. For my perfect house, I’d definitely choose low-emission construction materials that have been given M1 classification. From the perspective of indoor air, it would also be important that the surface materials are easy to clean. And the house would, of course, have to have the necessary ventilation and room-specific temperature controls. Research projects on wellness construction have demonstrated how important natural light and pleasant colours are to cosiness. I’d like to have both in my own home, in addition to which I’d invest in good lighting design and acoustics. My home would also have wood surfaces, which studies have shown to enhance cosiness, and of course a nice view of nature. My family has built two single-family homes, and this experience has shown that good planning is key to everything. Close cooperation between the designers and the architect makes the facilities not only functional, but also adaptable ­according to need.”

Professor Heidi Salonen, Department of Civil Engineering


“MY FIELD is wood materials science and technology, and my speciality is wood modification, or improving the properties of wood. The biggest problem with buildings – whether they be made of wood, brick or concrete – is usually the absorption of water or steam, from outside or in. The wood products industry modifies external cladding boards by, for example, treating the wood with heat or chemically with acetic anhydride. We have developed a method where wood is treated with high-pressure steam, making the process more controlled and faster as well as less energy-intensive. Our goal is to create a wood product, which will not rot or mould. During my studies, I immersed myself in wood architecture and wood as a construction material, and I have, at times, thought about what my own ideal house would be like. It would be made from solid wood with a breathing structure. Breathing doesn’t mean that the wind passes in and out of the house; instead, it means that the wood sucks moisture out of the indoor air and passes it through the walls, removing the need for mechanical ventilation. Wooden surfaces in, for example, the bedrooms can snatch moisture from the air at night and return it when the occupants are at work or school. A well-designed solid wood structure can achieve low energy consumption, and some times it isn’t necessary to do anything to the house for decades. 30-centimetre logs can easily survive for centuries. Our studies are, to an extent, trying to achieve what is found in Norway’s old wooden churches, a wood surface that requires no treatment with chemicals and is instead allowed to change colour as time passes. I would love the opportunity to cooperate with architects in thinking up ways to realise this sustainably and elegantly in, for example, building facades.”

Professor Lauri Rautkari, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Cooling walls and ventilating roofs “MY PROFESSORSHIP covers structural design.

It’s related to structural engineering design, but not quite the same thing. My main objective is not to create durable structures, but to study how physical and digital information can be used to design more functional architecture. Traditionally, buildings have been put t­ ogether from layers, each of which has a single purpose: to provide stability, insulate, keep moisture out, protect, and so on. I’m interested in how these could be merged into hybrid elements that give a building shape while also, for example, cooling, heating, shading or bringing in fresh air. This would conserve materials and simplify construction. At the same time, it would provide us with new kinds of buildings with unconventional shapes and different spatial solutions. Hybrid elements pose fresh demands on designers and the industry. The significance of digital

manufacturing methods is growing continuously, and design is becoming more and more information-driven. The fluent coupling of technology and creativity is important. From the technical viewpoint, a house is often understood to be the opposite of the outside world, a place that requires insulation. For me, a house is a continuation of the outside world, and an inseparable part of its environment. This makes it hard for me to imagine, say, the shape or functions of an ideal house. What at least is certain is that it would be located in an urban environment – I don’t see the traditional single-family home, surrounded by nature, as a suitable housing form for the future.” Professor Toni Kotnik, Department of Architecture AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21 \ 28


Energy-efficient LED light powered by the African sun Combining solar power with energy-efficient lighting can achieve great things in Africa. Improved education is of key importance in achieving change.

Text: Marjukka Puolakka Illustration: Annukka Mäkijärvi




Energy-efficient LED light powered by the African sun Combining solar power with energy-efficient lighting can achieve great things in Africa. Improved education is of key importance in achieving change.

Text: Marjukka Puolakka Illustration: Annukka Mäkijärvi



MANY AFRICAN HOMES have no electricity. There’s simply not enough of it to go around, nor does the power grid even extend into remote rural villages. Just one percent of Mozambique’s rural population, for example, has electricity. Illumination accounts for the majority of electricity consumption in developing countries, and a large share of electrical power is wasted because of inefficient technology and lacking awareness. “The situation will just get worse if nothing is done. It has been estimated that, by 2030, developing countries will consume 60% of the world’s illumination electricity,” says researcher Pramod Bhusal from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation. The Aalto-coordinated EARLI project develops teaching and research activities associated with energy-efficient lighting and renewable energy in SubSaharan Africa. Participants include the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanza­ nia, the Eduardo Mondlane University of Mozambique and the Addis Ababa University from Ethiopia. The project is funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry through its international university development cooperation programme.

New courses in the pipeline EARLI was launched in August 2017 at the University of Dar es Salaam. In addition to international university people, the launch event was attended by representatives of Tanzanian industry, energy companies and NGOs. “We were provided with information from the viewpoint of not only universities, but also society as a whole. Corre-

sponding events took place in Mozambique in September and Ethiopia in October. Lighting technology is not taught at all in Mozambique, while the other two universities have one lecture on this topic as part of an electrical technology course,” Bhusal says. Now, each university is examining what kind of energy-efficient lighting and renewable energy expertise the nation requires. “We will convene at Aalto in January to start developing the necessary courses.” Once the courses and their materials have been finalised, it will be time to train some teachers. The courses will also be tested by implementing intensive trial periods at each university before the final step, when their inclusion in degree programmes will be approved by the participating institutions.

Quality control by laboratories Improving the energy-efficiency of lighting involves a lot more than just swapping incandescent bulbs for LEDs. It all needs to begin with building design. “In Africa, we saw how, for example, the dark walls and furniture of office buildings eat up most of the light. Instead of a lighting fixture, a fluorescent lamp with no reflector would be fitted on the ceiling, leading to the loss of a lot of illumination. The windows are small, and little use of daylight is made indoors. Architects and electrical engineers need to be informed about illumination, effective light sources and control systems.” Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique have no lamp manufacturing of their

own. The majority of available technology consists of cheap, crude items, and there is no quality control to speak of. A lighting laboratory will be established at all three participating African universities as part of the EARLI project, enabling the future testing of all imported lamps and lighting fixtures. The labs will also provide support for teaching and research. “We are helping the universities procure measuring devices for their laboratories and providing training on how to conduct measurements both on site and here in our own Otaniemi lab.”

Solar panels to shine light on remote villages In the African countryside, villages are distant from one another and far away from the power grid. Expanding the grid to reach everybody would cost a fortune and take decades. It is much more sensible to generate electricity locally with solar panels, as has increasingly been the tendency in Tanzania in recent years. “The University of Dar es Salaam provides fine solar energy education, which will be exported to Mozambique and Ethiopia as part of EARLI. For example, we’re organise study projects where energy-efficient lighting is coupled with solar panels.” It’s possible to achieve a lot when energy-saving lamps are utilised with low-power panels. “It would be expensive and inefficient to power a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 100-watt solar panel, when a 10watt LED lamp can generate the same amount of illumination. LED use makes it possible to illuminate more homes.”•



Teaching throughout Otaniemi A new form of platform economy is revolutionising teaching at the Aalto University campus. The School as a Service model is spreading. Text: Marja Puustinen Photos: Kimmo Räisänen EEMIL VIRKKUNEN, who is in his first year of upper secondary school, is pleased. He got a place on a programming course, which Aalto University is also offering to the upper secondary schools in Otaniemi, Haukilahti Upper Secondary School and Pohjois-Tapiola Upper Secondary School. The course was open to all upper secondary school students in Espoo. “I have never done any programming before, but this course will give me good basic skills. The university’s engineering students are assistants on the course. If I pass the exams and then go on to get a place at Aalto University, I will already have completed five credits,” says ­Virkkunen.

The plan was to start the course with ­ a group of about 20 students, but dozens of students applied. “After the initial rush, the number of students has fallen slightly. The demands of the course are the same as those for university students, and this came as a surprise for some. Overall, the upper secondary students’ enthusiasm has also motivated the teachers,” says the course’s teacher in charge Kerttu Pollari-Malmi, senior university lecturer, Aalto University Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Rebekka Sukselainen also sampled some academic studies during her first year of upper secondary school.

“During a design course, we made a map of Otaniemi using a computer program. We also gave opinions on how this area could be developed,” says Sukselainen. Virkkulainen and Sukselainen applied for a place at Haukilahti Upper Secondary School because the students can attend university courses at Otaniemi while they are at the school. Both hope to study at one of the schools of Aalto University. The close cooperation between the university, upper secondary schools and businesses in Otaniemi is part of the School as a Service concept. The barriers between education levels

Game on: A visitor from China took part in a table tennis match at Haukilahti Upper Secondary School. 32/ AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

At Pohjois-Tapiola Upper Secondary School, the teaching areas and other facilities are spacious and light.

come down, the borders between subjects crumble and teachers and students work together communally.

parties could also maintain and develop teaching services.” Ahlava was surprised at how enthusiastic the City of Espoo was about piloting the model. It became a joint project of School becomes a network Antti Ahlava, Vice President of Aalto the university, Aalto University ProperUniversity, is one of the inventors of ties Ltd and the City of Espoo. “It was also a surprise to see how the School as a Service concept. Two years ago, he held a course with Professor actively Aalto University lecturers have Jarmo Suominen where the idea was to made their courses available to upper consider the development of the building secondary school students.” The new operating model has already of schools. Service designers from become established, as Haukilahti Upper the Royal College of Art, London, also Secondary School has been operating participated. in Otaniemi for a year now and Pohjois“It soon became clear that the goal of Tapiola Upper Secondary School for education and the way that schools are built are not aligned. While the new a few months. However, the model is developing all the time. curriculum emphasises social learning “We are currently designing an eleand theme- and project-based activities, the building of schools is based on regumentary school based on the model for Otaniemi in Espoo. It will open its doors lations dating back to the 19th century,” in January 2019,” says Vice President says Ahlava. Ahlava. And so, the School as a Service model The model has attracted a lot of interwas created. In this model, the school is not a building or a place but a platform est around the world and it has received for collective thinking and learning. All the International Quality Innovation the resources in the surrounding area Prize. are used. In Otaniemi this means that the schools making up Aalto University, Focus on student guidance the upper secondary schools and The rolling out of the new model has increased the workload of the principals businesses work together every day. and teachers. The cooperation can extend to premises “However, it is so rewarding that everyand teaching and also various projects. “The school becomes a network, and one has enthusiastically come on board. the interaction of students with other Each person feels like they are buildpeople in the community increases.” ing something new and unique,” says According to Ahlava this is a new Sinikka Luoma-Mattila, Principal of Pohjois-Tapiola Upper Secondary School form of platform economy. and Pekka Piri, Principal of Haukilahti “The local area offers services to Upper Secondary School. schools. In Otaniemi, Aalto University Erika Ripatti, teacher of history and has been the service operator, but other

social studies, is amazed at how quickly the cooperation within the campus started up. “Within a couple of months, we were able to launch cooperation with the Aalto Start-Up Center business accelerator that is based in the same building. Other partners are the Urban Mill space that functions as a collaboration platform and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The lists of partners just grow, and the projects related to entrepreneurship, for example, are increasing.” The teachers of the two upper secondary schools cooperate closely together and with the university lecturers. This allows them to stay up-to-date with matters related to the education levels and to take these into account in their work. As so many things have changed regarding everyday practical matters alone, more attention than usual has been focused on student counselling. Students at Haukilahti Upper Secondary School have two student counsellors. “It is important for us to reinforce the sense of community. Though the building is now less significant, the importance of the group and community is increasing. Students also start to think about their career much earlier than usual these days and support is needed for this. One reason that students are thinking about their future career paths even earlier is because the upper secondary school matriculation exam is now more important when universities select students,” says Antti Humalamäki, upper secondary school guidance counsellor. •

New concept of space Haukilahti Upper Secondary School in Espoo has 380 students and it has been located in Otaniemi since autumn 2016. Pohjois-Tapiola Upper Secondary School, which has about 400 students, moved to the area in August 2017. One principle of the School as a Service concept is that activities, not the buildings, form the essential factors of the school. Sharing is the key factor in the idea of space: the spaces used by the students are partly shared with other parties operating in the Otaniemi campus. The upper secondary schools operate at as many as seven different addresses. For example, physical education takes place at Otaniemi sports field and Otahalli sports centre, physics classes, visual arts

and chemistry laboratory classes are held at the university’s premises. The cafeteria is located at another address. During the previous academic year, Haukilahti Upper Secondary School students used Aalto University’s premises for 1 200 hours in total. “The new model allows the city to considerably cut costs, increase operational flexibility and reduce its carbon footprint,” says Eetu Ristaniemi, Director, Real Estate Investments at Aalto University Properties Ltd. According to him, there has been a considerable increase in the utilisation rate of Aalto University’s laboratories and the other premises used by upper secondary school students. The implementation of

the School as a Service concept has not required the building of any new premises because old premises have been adapted, making them easier to convert. Haukilahti Upper Secondary School’s building was previously used by Aalto University’s Forest Products Technology, and the Open Innovation House is home to Pohjois-Tapiola Upper Secondary School. “The main thing is that qualitative measurements show that, among other things, student satisfaction has improved. The number of applicants to Haukilahti Upper Secondary School has grown by as much as 150 per cent,” says Ristaniemi. Aalto University Properties has been responsible for the design and furnishing of the premises. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 33

On science

Science competition win spurs research into new material The HeatStock team shared first prize in the Helsinki Challenge idea competition. Its researchers are developing heat energy storage with the aid of a new material. Text: Timo Hämäläinen Photos: Konsta Turunen and the HeatStock team THE AALTO UNIVERSITY-LED HeatStock

research group has developed a material, which can store thermal energy for long times, in principle for ever. The stored heat can be released in a controlled manner. The team shared first place in the Helsinki Challenge science competition with the iCombine team, which was led by the University of Helsinki. Both teams were awarded €187 500 for the further development of their proposed solution. “The prize came at an excellent time, as the funding for our research was just about to cease. The prize money will enable us to continue our research, even though it alone will not be enough 34 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

to carry through all of our plans,” says researcher Ari Seppälä who served as the leader of the HeatStock team.

Storing solar energy

The material functions perfectly on the scale of a droplet. For practical applications, however, it must be made to work in larger units, preferably weighing a few hundred grams. “It would probably be unwise to increase the size to a very great extent, as using small, interlinked units makes it easier to manage the heat release,” Seppälä says. Heat could be gathered using, for example, solar energy collectors placed

on the roofs of buildings. Heat stored in summer would then be used to heat residential premises in winter. Seppälä says a heating system based on a heat store could be a good solution for passive houses and summer cottages. In existing buildings types, it could be used as a partial solution to, for example, help even out heat consumption spikes. Seppälä and his colleagues have calculated that a heat store some 12 cubic metres in volume would be sufficient to cover the heating needs of a 100-squaremetre passive house for six months in Finnish conditions. In practice, it might be enough to cover the entire heating needs of the house. In other words, it

The basic raw material of this new material is a xylitol-like sugar alcohol whose thermophysical properties can be altered with the help of polymers.

would be possible to provide the entire heat supply required for a passive house using solar power. Heat storage could also be used in district heating areas. In such cases, the heat stores could be placed in the buildings connected to a district heating network. The stores would be loaded using heat generated at combined heat and power plants in summer, and unloaded in wintertime. The material also has potential in the storage of waste heat generated by industry. Fully-charged heat modules could then be transported to different locations according to need.

An exceptional material

The team’s invention takes advantage of the latent heat involved in phase changes that is characteristic of all materials. Latent heat is the release or absorption of thermal energy. Seppälä illustrates the phenomenon using a familiar example. When ice melts into water, its state changes from solid to liquid. Thermal energy is bound into the water in this conjunction. When the ice once again freezes, the phase transition releases heat. The material now invented behaves exceptionally. When the liquid material cools down, it does not crystallise once it goes below the point of freezing, nor does it release the heat stored during thawing. Instead, the heat is stored in a glass-like, amorphous substance that forms during the process. When you want to convert the material back from the amorphous into the crystalline form, it needs to, somewhat surprisingly, be heated a little bit. Once sufficient “starter heat” has been added, the material begins to crystallize by itself, and thus to release the thermal energy stored in it. In other words, launching the crystallising process requires some

heat, but even this can be taken advantage of. “A material like this has not been developed before, and we don’t know much about its behaviour. Some pure polymers behave similarly, but they lack a correspondingly large energy content. Some studies have observed water bound in polymers also behaving in a similar manner. These cases have, however, only involved smallish amounts of water, and the researchers didn’t manage to get the phenomenon to repeat itself in consecutive crystallisation-thawing cycles, unlike our material,” Seppälä says. The principal components of the triumphant material are erythritol, a sweetener favoured by dieters, whose thermophysical behaviour is altered with a cross-bridged polymer. The material is, in light of current knowledge, safe: erythritol is edible, and the polymer in question is used in diapers. The material is not corrosive. “It’s inexpensive, the present price is around a euro per kilo, but larger applications would require substantial amounts of it. Growing demand could lower prices, however. It should be possible to manufacture erythritol more cheaply in the future from, for example, the sidestreams of biochemical processes.”

Chemistry and physics

Development of the material commenced about a decade ago, when Ari Seppälä’s interest got piqued by the mitt en heaters that had appeared on the market. These heaters contain salt hydrates, whose crystallisation and associated heat-formation is started by clicking a thin metal plate contained in the product. Closer research demonstrated that the salt hydrates lost their operating power in recurring use and would not function at all on a larger scale. The temperature they release is likewise too little to be of use in many applications. The research got a shot in the arm about four years ago, when chemical engineering postgraduate student Salla Puupponen joined the team. She started a doctoral research project with the aim of developing new materials to store thermal energy. The breakthrough was achieved about a year ago. “Salla Puupponen brought her excellent chemistry expertise to the team. However, she transferred to work as a researcher in the business sector this Konsta Turunen (left) and Salla Puupponen observe how the material behaves at different temperatures.

spring, which was a major loss for us. We need another talented chemist who is passionate about research to replace her,” Seppälä says. Follow-up research aims to scale the size of the heat store from the present droplet size to something bigger. Another aim is to increase the material’s energy storage density even further. After this, it will be time to run some pilot trials. Furthermore, the behaviour of the material is associated with some poorly known physical and chemical phenomena, whose study should be inspiring for scientists who focus on fundamental research. Seppälä believes the research will also yield practical applications in the end. These may well be of a shape that differs from what is being imagined now. The phenomena associated with this material are still so new that it is impossible to envision the final results with any accuracy. •

— Helsinki Challenge 2017 The idea competition was realised as a cooperation between ten Finnish universities. Its goal is to discover new, sciencebased solutions to some of the world’s most difficult problems. The competition’s themes – people in change, a sustainable planet and urban future – are based on the UN’s sustainable development objectives. Some 110 proposals were submitted to the competition towards the end of 2016. Following an initial elimination round, the jury selected 20 semifinalists for an accelerator programme. Six teams were named for the final stage of the competition, in addition to one finalist who was voted in by the public. The HeatStock and iCombine teams shared the first prize, meaning each team will receive €187 500 towards the realisation of their idea. The Aalto-led HeatStock team has developed a new kind of material for the longterm storage of thermal energy. The team members are Ari Seppälä, Salla Puupponen, Konsta Turunen, Olli Vartia and Kari Saari from Aalto University, Leena Hupa and Daniel Lindberg from Åbo Akademi University, Kirsi Jouppila from the University of Helsinki as well as Ilkka Hippinen and Kati Laakso of Motiva. The University of Helsinki-led iCombine team is developing a mathematical model, which will help doctors identify optimal medical therapies for cancer patients. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 35

On science

Text: Marjukka Puolakka Photos: Antero Kukko, Anttoni Jaakkola, Hannu Hyyppä

Laser scanning the 3D world Robotic cars, forest growth, virtual theatre, renovations... Laser scanning has a lot of applications, and new ones are being discovered all the time. THIS IS THE BASIC idea: a laser beam

bounces off the object being measured, and the time it takes the beam to travel back is used to measure the distance of the object. The cloud of measured points is used to build a precise three-dimensional model of a city, forest, house, human or, for example, a cow. “At first, laser scanning was performed from aeroplanes, but today’s mobile scanners can be transported in a backpack or they might be a component of, for example, a robotic car’s eyes,” says Professor Hannu Hyyppä from the School of Engineering.

Mobile-scanned built environment.


Hyyppä’s research group is linked to the Academy of Finland-funded Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research (2014–19). Together with the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, the group forms the Research Institute of Measuring and Modelling for the Built Environment, which is a world leader in mobile laser scanning. “The demand for three-dimensional information is growing explosively. Our vision has laser scanning present everywhere, and affecting the lives of everyone in the information society of the 2020s.”

From museum objects to robotic buses In mobile applications, the scanner is transported in a car, boat, robotic copter or backpack. A digital camera is a common optional extra used to assign colour values to the point cloud and give the object a more natural appearance. The development of GPS location systems and inertial measurement devices that measure an object’s position will lead to ever more precise 3D models. The mobile scanners manufactured collaboratively at the Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research are being used to perform measurements

that are unique, even internationally. “At first, we’d build our devices from scratch, but now we combine lasers, sensors, ATVs and other technology.” In addition to more sophisticated devices, there’s need for algorithms that can sift out the desired information from the enormous volume of points. In forestry, for example, researchers want to extract information concerning tree height, trunk thickness, branch volume and tree health. Using laser scanners to survey a forest can achieve accuracies ranging from two to five centimetres. Indoors, mobile scanning is restricted by the weakness of satellite signals, so static indoor scanners are used to scan objects from several perspectives, thus avoiding blind spots. The modelling of indoor built areas has achieved accuracies of about one centimetre. The indoor

scanners used to model small museum objects can achieve precisions of less than a millimetre. “Measuring in itself is pretty easy, but the processing of billions of data points can take days,” Hyyppä points out. Laser scanning is also used in the renovation construction of valuable locations. Precise dimensional drawings of the ceilings were made using laser scanning during the renovation of Aalto University’s new main building Dipoli, which was originally built in 1966, to ensure that they could be returned to their original appearance after dismantling and refurbishment.

Robotic bus scans its path

Laser scanning also aids self-driving cars. The most significant sensor in Google’s robotic car is the rooftop rotating laser scanner, which can generate a 360-degree image of the surroundings up to a distance of 200 metres. The robot buses moving around Otaniemi as part of a demonstration trial use laser-based machine vision devices for navigation. Each minibus is equipped with a GNSS satnav receiver, cameras, 2D scanners on the vehicle’s corners and a rooftop laser scanner. “A robotic bus needs a model of the surroundings to operate, and this model is updated constantly using laser scanning.” The weather poses challenges for outdoor scanning, mostly in the form of scattering caused by moisture and snow. The mirrors of a scanner can also begin to frost and its electronics freeze when the temperature drops.

Even off-the-wall ideas might be considered Multidisciplinarity is a full reality in the 27-strong research group led by Hannu Hyyppä: the team includes experts from land surveyors to virtual reality wizards and from transport engineers to cultural pundits. “When you engage in creating something new, there’s isn’t always a ready template for who should do what. We operate beyond our own comfort zones. This is precisely how open-minded

insights emerge,” says Science Producer Marika Ahlavuo. The research group cooperates with universities, universities of applied sciences, upper secondary schools, businesses, cultural institutions and numerous other actors. It also has good relations with the film and game industries.

Old hospitals and a children’s art festival 3D scanning also has applications in art. Yle’s Swedish-language division and the Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research produced an artwork for the Helsinki Festival in which Lapinlahti Hospital was laser scanned using a backpack scanner and photographed with a panoramic camera, creating a light and sound installation set in the period ­1841–2006 and featuring imaginary ­narratives from former patients including famed author Aleksis Kivi. A model of the hospital’s indoor space was input into the Unity game engine, enabling also remote users to explore the facility. “Models of the built environment can be utilised in event production. The virtual world makes art independent of space and time,” says Marika Ahlavuo. The Espoo Cultural Centre organises a children’s art festival called Art Tickling, which has showcased an exhibit of wonderful point cloud art as well as hologram presentations of laser-accumulated point cloud data on Finnish roads. The Virtual Adventure in the World of Theatre project uses digital imaging, distance cameras, 360-degree video, augmented reality and laser scanners to build new sensational experiences. “In an experiment being run at the City Theatre of Jyväskylä, viewers can explore the inside of the theatre in virtual reality, getting to see how the illusion of the performance and its scenic elements are created, and what kinds of activities take place at the theatre beyond the stage,” Ahlavuo says.

From cows to kitchen renovations The research group is constantly looking at new applications for laser scanning. In the Pig Data project, 3D ­scanning AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20 \ 37

On science

This 3D model of Raseborg Castle was made using an aerial drone.

is brought to cowsheds and piggeries. Researchers will study how animal development and welfare could be ­monitored with the aid of 3D models. Urban planners are considering if the 3D modelling of green area construction could aid in determining the value of houses. The Academy of Finland-funded COMBAT point cloud project aims to create a 3D model covering all of Finland that would digitise the nation’s forests, rivers, cities, electricity lines and traffic environments. “Among other things, we will examine how the data on road environments that cars will soon be collecting could be utilised for road maintenance and improv-

Backpack scanning in the terrain. 38 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

ing safety,” Hyyppä says. It is thought that laser scanning will be a feature of mobile phones in a few years time. Hyyppä envisions a kitchen renovation of the future: “I’ll laser scan pictures of the kitchen cabinets with my phone or pad, process them into a model and then send it to cabinet makers so they can bid for the job.” “Laser scanning is coming into cars, consumer devices, smart garments – everywhere. In cartoons, inventors are sometimes portrayed with propellers on their heads. These could well be replaced by laser scanners,” Hyyppä chuckles. •

A million rays per second Laser scanning is a measuring technique in which laser beams are used to make a precise three-dimensional model without having to physically touch the object being measured. Scanning is based on laser pulses that refract from the object back to the scanner. The distance is then calculated from, for example, the time it takes the rays to bounce back. A laser scanner will send up to a million rays per second in different directions. When the precise location and position of the scanner is known, distances can be converted into three-dimensional xyz coordinates for each individual point. The point cloud thus created can consist of up to billions of discrete points. Three-dimensional surfaces are identified and modelled out of the point clouds with the aid of computation. Laser scanning took its first steps when the development of space technology enabled satellite location. The measuring technique, which was originally developed for military use, came to Finland in the 1990s in the form of forest surveys. In the 2000s, the sector’s breathtaking development has been aided by the evolution of GPS location and inertial measurement technology. The range of application areas is growing rapidly. In Finland, laser scanning has today expanded from forest surveying into the lives of everybody in the shape of, for example, the maps generated by ­Google’s Street View vehicles.


Wearable tech Startup company Avanto makes infrared heating knitted technology. As an end result, the wearer doesn’t get to put on just any old smart garment, but a usable and washable item of clothing that’s also easy on the eyes. Text: Tiiu Pohjolainen Photo: Avanto Technologies THAT METEX PRIZE sure hit the spot. In 2015, ­the Tech­

nology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation awarded Visa Kupias and Aino Aarnio-Juurinen for a Master’s thesis work, which the pair had, unusually, completed together. Aarnio-Juurinen contributed her expertise in the field of clothing design, while Kupias brought his industrial design know-how to the table. The pair presented a cold-water diving suit, which keeps the diver warm with the aid of a rechargeable waterproof battery and wireless power transmission. The prize made it possible for the pair to further develop this innovation and participate in international conferences. They showcased their novel diving suit concept around the world several times, returning home with constructive and encouraging feedback. They also had to consider whether a viable commercial market exists for their suit.

Knitwear that reacts to body temperature Avanto Technologies Oy now operates out of Otaniemi and employs three people full-time. Their efforts no longer focus on the diving suit, as the team is developing an innovative knitted material, which can respond to the body temperature of its wearer. The idea is to incorporate infrared heating into the textile, with the temperature regulated either automatically or in a way that is simple for the wearer to adjust.

The material is being developed primarily for app­ lication in work and sports clothing. The hope is that people such as loggers, security guards and maintenance workers, who engage in physical work outdoors, would find this type of clothing a good option when preparing for a cold winter day. During the day, workers like this will break into a sweat several times, but also cool down whenever their duties require them to stay put at a work location, which can sometimes happen for quite lengthy periods of time. “Of course the combining of electronics and clothing is challenging,” Visa Kupias says. “We are developing a high-quality material, and one of its most significant properties is usability. Clothes are clothes, and they have to stay pleasing for their users, even if they are being worn on an oil rig or when climbing a mountain.” The concept of layered clothing will, in the future, refer to the wearing of garments whose materials adapt to the use environment. Avanto’s innovative material is presently being prepared for a pilot project, which will have a group of trial users put clothing made from it to the test. It’s just a few years since the pair submitted their thesis work, but Visa Kupias is quite clear about what he and Aino Aarnio-Juurinen are aiming for: “Some time from now, Avanto will be the Gore-Tex of warming, the name that everyone knows.” •




Electric community of startups and partners Text: Laura Siira Photo: Kalle Kataila Aalto University’s new centre for growth companies, A Grid, opens its doors officially in February in the former facilities of the School of Electrical Engineering. A Grid gathers dozens of startups, creative businesses, other partners and accelerators under the same roof. And that roof is not the smallest one: in fact, A Grid will be one of Europe’s largest centres for growth companies. Among the newcomers moving to campus are the world’s first UN Technology Innovation Lab and the business accelerator of the European Space Agency. The former building of the School of Electrical Engineering in Otaniemi was finished in 1968, and the school operated in the premises up until last year. For example, significant research and education on space technology have been carried out in the building – what a suitable ground then for a space agency accelerator and startups, those future stars. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 41


Level up! Great ideas take time to spread, but after their promo video hit over 100 million views, the team behind Valo Motion’s Augmented Climbing Wall knew they had reached new heights. Text edited by: David Lewis Photos: Mikko Raskinen, Jutta Kasslin


a video game projected on a climbing wall, using their bodies as controllers. It looked incredible, simple and fun while showcasing the new game the crew had been working on.

Projected graphics and body motion It all began a few years before when Raine Kajastila was post doc in the games research team led by Professor Perttu Hämäläinen. Kajastila’s aim was to examine ways to motivate people to get physically active through technology. “I had been climbing for over fifteen years and I’m a trained rope climbing instructor. I quickly realized the idea of combining projected graphics and body motion tracking would work in the realm of climbing really well.” Success needed some hard work. In 2015, Raine Kajastila was granted funding for developing the product inside the university. Year-long funding enabled him to build a team of six persons and turn a promising prototype into a product. After the university project, when the product was launched, Kajastila and his team decided to set up a company. A great deal of uncertainty was involved with the solution: could the university invention be turned into a profitable business and day job for several people? “We had just started sales, with some interest and potential in the air. We started off without a salary, but a strong WHEN LEO HOLSTI got up one Saturday belief in our product helped get it off morning in 2016 he knew the world had changed. the ground”, says Raine Kajastila, “I woke up and my phone was buzzing”, the company’s CEO. says Holsti, operational manager of Huge publicity from the videos, events and media as well as an enthusiastic Valo Motion, a company established for reaction from customers have ensured the Augmented Climbing Wall. a busy start. Currently, Valo Motion “All my friends were freaking out.” has eight full-time and two part-time As it turned out, the simple promo employees. video the company had uploaded Augmented Climbing Walls have been the night before had become a literal erected in different types of activity overnight success. In just a few hours, close to a million people had watched Leo parks, fitness centres and climbing gyms Holsti and CTO Joni Vähämäki ­playing in over thirty countries. At the moment,

there are five different games available. Sven Rörsch, who is responsible for the product’s sales, enthuses: “It was great to see that my 4-year old son was equally captured by the wall as my mother and many professional ­climbers.”

Hobby as work

The Augmented Climbing Wall team is a diverse group of top experts, their different skills and backgrounds creating fresh, new thinking. Janne Karisto, who has studied graphic design and industrial and strategic design, is responsible for the Augmented Climbing Wall’s design. Many of the team members have studied information technology, but gained other type of experience along the way. Leo ­Holsti serves as a prime example of diverse expertise. “My background is in computer science studies with a focus on interactive content production and games. I also have a circus artist’s degree.” The team members share an interest in games or climbing or both. They are the best experts in their own products also in practice, testing all of the games themselves. Programmer Sami Pekkola gushes: “It’s really fun to work with something that is so tightly related to my hobbies.” The group is already working on products tied to other forms of exercise as well. Game designer Lauri Lehtonen wants to develop fun, catchy games that get people moving. “Using the same gear time after time is rather boring. With our products we can make it interesting every time, it’s never exactly the same. I believe that in the near future, products such as the Augmented Climbing Wall will provide everyone, including people like myself, an enjoyable way to exercise. We want to make something that will ultimately help people make their lives better.” • AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 43


Developing technological things of beauty How do you create a phenomenon? Sometimes, it takes clay, synthetic-fibre textile, an international team of designers and an oscilloscope. Text: Tiiu Pohjolainen Photos: Nita Vera

Among other things, the workshop tested the electrical conductivity of textiles with the aid of 3D printouts.


HUMAN-SIZED 3D printers emit a cold

white light and softly hum in the background when, suddenly, someone lets out an amused shriek: “Noooooo! It killed my baby!” The babble of conversation finds new focus around the shrieker, and the gathered minds begin to consider what went wrong: was it the choice of material, the design or the geometry? It is an October Sunday, and some twenty designers from around Europe have gathered at Aalto’s AddLab facility for a pre-workshop associated with the Arcintex conference. The workshop’s attendees consist of textile designers in particular. During the weekend, they will, quite literally, muck their hands in clay and think about the conductive properties of the materials of the future. How could items typically produced through classical design one day have the ability to conduct light, sound or electricity? The instruments being used to experiment with material conductivity are quite bewildering. A 3D printer is adding layers of biodegradable PLA plastic onto a synthetic fabric, in addition to which a pop-up ceramic kiln has been brought here to enable the designers to experiment with merging various clay and metal materials. An oscilloscope, perhaps a more familiar sight in an electronics lab, is being used to measure the electrical conductivity of some beautiful knitwear.

A talking blouse

The workshop has been arranged by the Embodied Design and Fashion/

Textile Futures research groups. Lab Manager Jussi Mikkonen keeps an eye on what the designers get up to and notes that, in just a few days, the workshop has generated more results than the organisers had ever dared hope for. “Experimental activities like this are not possible at the home universities of many of our participants – either they lack the equipment or collaborative traditions, or the approach of the institution may just be too different. Here, designers can experiment with wild ideas and get immediate feedback from other experts.” This is why some silver was piped into clay on the previous day. One day later, a rock-hard silvery mesh is all that remains of the lump that went into the ceramics kiln. Similarly, the research group’s doctoral candidate Riikka Townsend has begun to view the cotton garment she knitted earlier with fresh eyes. So far, she’s added electricity-conducting copper wire to the knitwear, but now a ­colleague has, in passing, asked her whether it is possible to correspondingly create knitwear, which would conduct sound instead.

the wearer’s oxygen uptake. “Earlier, I have experimented with laser cutting. I can make a material quite flexible and supportive, but every time something is cut off, you also generate waste in the form of off-cuts.” Rodrigues thinks the textile industry creates a shocking amount of waste. “At Aalto, I have, for the first time, been able to print just the right amount of material I require. 3D printing leaves nothing to cut off, you don’t need to think about leaving any allowance.” The workshop has already given birth to many fresh ideas, which could help mitigate the textile industry’s besetting sin, the share of waste generated in production. “Sports clothing should feel like a second skin to the user. In the future, the design process of a clothing item could start with the customer telling you exactly what they want, with designers then designing and realising a madeto-measure piece using 3D printers. This would be a perfect no-waste project.”

Changing frequencies

I’m listening to the surrounding conversation while fiddling with the small printouts and ceramic objects created over the weekend. The designers are still Portuguese Ana Inês Rodrigues has experimenting, learning from their misbeen working on the design of future sports clothing at the Heriot-Watt Unitakes and pondering new approaches. versity, Scotland, for a long time already. But I’m starting to gradually believe that quite soon alpine skiers will be racShe wants to develop a material, which will provide athletes with strong support. ing downhill wearing 3D printed outfits, which will simultaneously record their The goal is to create a textile that will performance as well as measure their stretch horizontally and flex vertically – pulse and blood sugar levels. Or maybe and provide enough support to improve the skateboarding clothes of the future will video all of the skater’s jumps. Riikka Townsend listens to my thoughts. “In future, intelligent clothing will no longer require the wearer to resemble a walking circuit board,” she sums up. “What we’re trying to do is develop beautiful things where the technological aspect is just a part of the clothing, sowed into the seams, for example. Think about it, what if it were possible to entirely alter a clothing item’s use purpose simply by changing a frequency?”•

Won’t expand, won’t shrink, will stretch

Sample piece being examined by doctoral candidates Riikka Townsend and Oldouz Moslemian from Aalto University as well as Agata Kycia from Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 45


Hackathon brings together businesses and the new IT generation The Junction event is 48 hours of ambitious coding and epic experiences. Text and photo: Tapio Reinekoski EUROPE’S BIGGEST hackathon event Junction was organised for the third time in November 2017. Its venue was the Dipoli building at the Otaniemi campus. More than 1 400 coders, developers and designers from around the world came there for a weekend to solve challenges presented by businesses and other organisations. The event isn’t held solely to facilitate an intense 48-hour slog of no sleep, coffee and ambitious coding. Junction’s special feature is the encounters between businesses and young IT professionals it promotes. Firms come in search of skillful and creative solutions for real problems, while the students get to showcase their abilities and ideas to potential future employers. The occurrence of encounters was not left to chance, as participants and corporate representatives were encouraged to use various matchmaking tools over the weekend. More than 60 cooperation partners representing different sectors were in attendance to present their challenges on a variety of themes. Tasks were solved in the fields of, for example, game development, artificial intelligence, space technology, transport services, the Internet of Things, intelligent construction and health technology. Aalto University presented the hackers with a joint challenge together with the University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Participants got to think up and realise entertaining content from data collected by Helsinki’s electric buses.

Tackling artificial intelligence and transports of the future Junction is the result of volunteer student activity conducted in the sphere of the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. The students currently running Aaltoes once again took part, this time parked firmly behind their keyboards. 46 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21

Coders filled the corridors of Dipoli on a November weekend.

Stella Tuovinen, Ville Lehto and Kasimir Hellman went for a challenge posed by the Finnish Transport Agency and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. It required them to develop a wholly new transport service for rural areas, where public transport connections are poor. The team selected the Eastern Finnish town of Lieksa as its target and started designing an application that enables users to plan their journey using combinations of, for example, ride shares, on-demand robotic cars and likewise driverless trunk transport lines. “We used the two agencies’ open data on the region’s traffic volumes, and started designing the service on this basis. Friday was spent brainstorming, after which the work was just coding,” says Stella Tuovinen. They came across their first learning experience on Saturday. The team built its application using Google’s map service and discovered a number of

­challenges under its hood. “Charting journeys and routes on the Google Maps programming interface proved more difficult than we’d anticipated, but we did manage to finish the service in the end.” The end result pleased the jury as well: on Sunday, the team’s service idea was awarded as the hackathon’s best solution. Even though processing their own project from the idea stage to a real product, game, program or service was, for many, the main reason for toiling over the weekend, Junction also offered a comprehensive experience. “We learned a lot, but we also knew that the weekend would be epic in other ways. The other participants, the challenges and all the ancillary activities made Junction much more awesome than we had expected!” •

Text: Krista Kinnunen

Kimmo Brandt/Compic

Clothing design brings dreams to life

— Young Designer of the Year Heidi Karjalainen is inspired by people. I also had to identify suitable materials and solutions. Getting to express my own ideas, vocalise my creative process and showcase my draft designs was a great experience.” Her design work was supervised by Professor of Fashion Design Pirjo ­Hirvonen. The gown was sewn and its patterns made by master seamstress Karina Pekola.

The wearer decides the final design Heidi Karjalainen draws ideas for her work from her surroundings. “I’m intrigued by people, they are an endless source of inspiration. I’m ­fascinated by how clothes are worn and combined. I think that the wearer creates the final design.” She sees clothing as a form of self-­ expression. “Clothes affect us externally and

Matti Porre / tpk.fi

MASTER’S DEGREE fashion design ­student Heidi Karjalainen had a ­memorable Independence Day. She designed and also dyed the silk fabric of the gown worn by the First Lady Jenni Haukio at the Presidential reception, the number-one event in the Finnish social calendar. The evening dress was her first customer commission. Karjalainen was named Young Designer of the Year in September. In May, she came second in the Apolda European Fashion Award competition in Germany. Karjalainen says she wanted to design a contemporary, dignified and elegant evening gown for the Independence Day gala that would also look different than any dress Jenni Haukio had worn before. “The design had to take into consideration the wishes and needs of the clients as well as the nature of the event, and I had to fit my own visual idiom to these.

President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and his spouse Jenni Haukio hosted the Independence Day reception. Haukio picked Heidi Karjalainen to design her evening dress. “I wanted my choice to both honour Aalto University’s high-quality design teaching and research, and to provide a young designer with the opportunity to showcase her abilities.”

i­ nternally. Clothing is directly connected to our sense of security, self-confidence and enjoyment.” Heidi Karjalainen thinks that clothes are fascinating, complex and challenging products. During the design process, you need to familiarise yourself with ­different materials, the silhouette, colours, details and the structure. The process includes numerous work phases and you need to manage various areas starting from pattern making to fabric development. “I’m interested in pattern making and technical solutions, structures and details. Clothes should be, in my ­opinion, made by hand to some extent, I don’t want digitalisation to replace human ­creativity.”

Aiming for a harmonious whole

Karjalainen starts her design process with background research. It sets the framework for the overall appearance of a collection: its mood, colours, s­ ilhouette and materials. An important aspect of her work is the drafting stage, which ­proceeds in spurts. “I don’t draw during the design process, I’m not able to express myself in that way. I design by shaping fabric over a mannequin doll, or I’ll use existing clothing items as a starting point for the design. I’ll alter the proportions, change or add parts, and change their places instinctually and spontaneously.” For Heidi Karjalainen, the most important aspect of an individual ­clothing item’s design is three-dimensionality: it must be interesting when viewed from any direction. The implementation must be beautiful and considered, throughout the materials and colour scheme. High-quality implementation also provides the wearer with an enjoyable ­experience. “Fashion arouses emotions, it builds different utopias and dreams. I think of fashion as a form of dreaming. My dreams and imagination become real in clothes.” • AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 47


Donation funds a supportive doctoral school A new, motivating and communal path towards a doctoral degree was realised thanks to a donation from the Land and Water Technology Foundation. Text: Eeva Lehtinen Photo: Nita Vera

A DOCTORAL research project is the sum

of many things. The doctor-to-be must have the ability to grasp totalities, think critically and independently as well as master research methods, the literature and good scientific practices. They’ll need to apply their expertise in working life and have a healthy amount of perseverance.

Encouraging modes of operation

The Department of Built Environment’s Water and Development research group has launched new kinds of sustainable and encouraging modes of operation to doctoral training. The four-year scheme was started thanks to a €2 million donation granted by the Land and Water ­Technology ­Foundation. The group researches topical water issues, the interaction between water and development as well as sustainable technologies. At present, its members include six doctoral candidates who started their doctoral research in 2017. They are being supervised by ­Professor Olli Varis and Assistant Professor Matti Kummu. Close support is provided by postdoctoral researcher Maija Taka, who acts as the project’s coordinator. The team also has an international steering group, which spars with them on both the content of research and their work practices.

Guidance and support are important “Our idea is to form the process leading to a doctoral thesis into a path of personal development along which you can learn and discover new things,” says Olli Varis. The project emphasises the significance of guidance, support and peer learning. The doctoral thesis process is systematic, and both parties make a 48 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

Members of the Water and Development research group from the left: Pekka Kinnunen, Maija Taka, Lauri Ahopelto, Amy Fallon, Olli Varis and Venla Niva.

­commitment to progress the work. Doctoral candidate Venla Niva ­graduated with a Master’s in engineering last June, and is now busy researching slums and their standing between cities and the surrounding countryside. “I’m examining the linkages between water security and slumification, and what the administrative function can do to steer growth in a sustainable direction. The group is of great help in my work, we meet often are all in roughly the same stage of our doctoral research,” Niva says.

of the future, responsible water sector specialists and problem-solvers who are prepared to tackle the world’s major ­challenges,” Olli Varis outlines. The doctoral candidates of the Water and Development research group learn together, often considering their own research questions in cooperation with the other team members. “Our model has proven to be very ­effective. It would be easy to apply in other disciplines as well,” says Professor Olli Varis.

The responsible experts of the future The doctoral students participating in the project will be polished into independent and competent researchers who will be prepared to enter working life also outside of academia. “Practical skills and the societal impact­of research play an important role with us. Our aim is to educate the experts

giving.aalto.fi The donations received by Aalto University are used to fund high-quality teaching and research. The minimum donation eligible for a tax deduction is €850. The university can also accept bequeathed donations.

Campus Text: Anu Salmi-Savilampi and Paula Haikarainen

Space savings – stick or carrot?

The university is rationalising its use of space and achieving savings at the same time. 300 000 SQUARE metres is quite a bit

of space. Could a bit be snipped from this instead of cutting personnel? This was the question for Aalto University in the autumn of 2015, when the government slashed university funding with a heavy hand. The Aalto community brainstormed and decided it would rather target facilities than personnel for cutbacks. The goal was to reduce the university’s floor space by a third, or some 100 000 square metres. Which is a lot. It has now been a couple of years since the statutory negotiations took place at the university. Aalto premises have been reduced by more than 60 000 square metres, and the savings target will be achieved in 2020. The annual savings have been about €20 million when compared to 2013. And what has all this led to in the everyday life of the community? Lots of planning, moving crates, multi-purpose offices, evolving work practices and venues, learning new things and giving up private work-spaces – and some ­anxiety, too.

School of Electrical Engineering sets an example An example of how to achieve spatial savings was provided by the relocation of the School of Electrical Engineering in the summer of 2017, when almost 500 people moved to more compact premises. However, the squeeze was accompanied by an enhancement in the quality of facilities and a modernisation in the way in which they were used. The School of Science lent a hand to its neighbour and freed up some of its own facilities. The research groups of the two schools sought to identify thematic totalities in which they could work in new types of teams, and then turned words into action. The Aalto Acoustic Lab, for example, brought together the acoustics researchers of the two schools, while speech scientists moved to the Health Technology building. “Moving requires close cooperation from the schools, departments, research groups and the university’s real estate company. Still, the most demanding aspect was our personnel’s mental ­moving process, which took its

Sqm in university use 1 000 sqm

YEAR 2013

YEAR 2017

325 72

265 Annual facility costs M€

time,” says Technology Manager Petri Hyvönen from the School of Electrical Engineering. “The new premises are clearly better than before. A multi-purpose office was a bogeyman for many, but, as a rule, people are happy with the new premises. Financially, the relocation will translate into annual savings of some €2.3 million when compared to 2015.”


Spanning centuries

Aalto’s developing campus is attracting creative industries, new companies and international actors to engage in cooperation. The goal is to lease out all of the floor space freed up by the university because we want these partnerships to enrich research and teaching. The university’s specialised facilities – such as the workshops, laboratories and substantial research infrastructure – will also be opened to the public and Halls in demand external partners. Universities traditionally have a lot of Construction will continue for quite enclosed offices. These are now being some time on campus. Two major converted into multi-purpose offices, which have both named and shared projects are ongoing: the Väre building workstations as well as facilities that for the School of Arts, Design and can be easily adapted for various needs. Architecture as well as the new School of Adaptable premises are where it’s at Business building. The builders of Väre today, says Managing Director Antti held its topping-out ceremony in NovemTuomela of Aalto University Campus & ber, and the opening will be celebrated Real Estate. The company is responsible in autumn 2018. The School of Busifor constructing, administering and leas- ness building is due for completion in 2020. ing the university’s premises. Antti Tuomela says the lifespan of The aim is to turn all of the university’s these new buildings is more likely to public spaces, like the lobbies and corridors, into venues for learning and workbe 500 than 50 years. “Our campus is a kind of an architecing. Their furniture is being designed to support this goal. tural pilgrimage destination, and it is “As teaching increasingly focuses likely that the new buildings will also be on small groups, there is no need for protected. Accordingly, we’re doing this additional large auditoriums. By conwork with a perspective of at least trast, open hall spaces are very much in 300 years, just like Professor Bengt demand, they get snapped up quickly,” Holmström recently recommended on says Tuomela. the Aalto University Board.” • AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 49

Doctoral theses

Getting waste recycling right The Finnish nation’s enthusiasm for waste recycling is lagging badly from targets. Olli Sahimaa got inspired by a doctoral research project that has real potential to wield concrete influence.

Text: Marjukka Puolakka Photo: Maija Astikainen THE EU HAS SET a target according to which half of all municipal waste should be recycled by 2020. However, Finland’s recycling rate was just 40.6% in 2015, and it had not grown at all in the preceding decade. “Recyclable materials make up some 70–80% of household mixed waste, and there’s lots of room for improvement in the sorting of biowaste and plastics in particular. We have our work cut out for us if we want to achieve EU targets, especially if we want to attain the follow-up goal of hitting a 65% recycling rate by 2030,” says Olli Sahimaa, who drafted his doctoral thesis at the Finnish Environment Institute. Sahimaa developed a new, reliable method for researching the composition of mixed waste and identifying recycling potential. “In 2015, 65% of municipal waste came from households, and they had a recycling rate of 37%. The recycling rate for waste produced by the administrative, service and business sectors was 47%.” Major action is required to improve the situation. Legislation and more effective counselling play a key role. “We need stricter regulation that expands the household collection network. One possible avenue would be to tighten municipality-specific waste management regulations. It could be done 50 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 20

nationally through more uniform legis­ lation or guideline recommendations. Companies must also enhance their separate collection of waste fractions.”

economic impacts of the steer­ing mechanisms for municipal waste recycling. Another area of activity is examining how weight-based pricing of waste might affect the nation’s enthusiasm for recyDoctorate earned in record time cling, while the CIRCWASTE project, Sahimaa didn’t dilly dally with this inter- which is coordinated by the Institute, is developing indicators for the circular esting research topic. The completed economy. doctoral thesis was sent to the printers “I want my work to have a broad positwo years and ten months after he started work. The learning process involved with tive impact. At some stage, I might also the research was an especially rewardconsider launching a business in the environment sector.” ing aspect. Sahimaa found time for his beloved “I got to develop myself, and I learned reading and sports even during his doceffective work practices. I divided my goals into small parts and daily tasks. toral project. He enjoys the gym, jogging and ball sports, but his most recent pasIt took a lot of discipline to keep a clear picture of the next deadline and objective time is disc golf, which he finds has many in my mind.” similarities with the doctoral thesis Now, Sahimaa wants to help other process. “A disc golfer has a clear objective of doctoral candidates by sharing his own landing his frisbee in the basket. It might experiences, and he’s planning to start at times, however, go into the woods, and a blog about it. then you are forced to discover a new “Everyone comes across major route forward. The game requires per­ challenges when working on their docseverance and steady performance, both torate, and they may lack adequate tools for managing the process. For the vast of which were strengths for me when majority of candidates, writing a doctoral conducting my doctoral research.” • thesis will be the biggest project of their lives so far.” Olli Sahimaa 27.10.2017: Recycling potential of municipal Fresh fairways and disc golf In his present job at the Finnish Envisolid waste in Finland. School of Engineering. ronment Institute, Sahimaa studies the

Doctoral theses

Edited by: Marjukka Puolakka

Organisational communications and the issue of social responsibility Kirsti Iivonen’s doctoral research studied how organisations respond to social responsibility demands when a specific social problem is associated with their core business. The empirical case analysed in this context was the American beverage industry’s response to the issue of obesity. The industry proved itself to be adept at utilising various communication methods in its aims to fend off threatening demands as well as to defend its legitimacy. This was done by e.g. rhetorical strategies, which aim to depict the opponent as an enemy of the consumer and the industry as its friend. Traditional narrative practices were employed to present new demands to consumers. The study also analysed how consumers experience the credibility of the beverage industry in solving the problem of obesity. The results help organisations ­analyse­ the authenticity of their communications and recognise their shortcomings in the field of social responsibility. The work provides tools for e.g. non-­ governmental organisations to better interpret and respond to corporate defence ­mechanisms. Kirsti Iivonen 23.8.2017: Organizational responses to institutional ­complexity: The case of beverage industry ­­ and obesity. School of Business.

Job boredom in white-collar work The doctoral research of Lotta Harju focused on job boredom, a scarcely ­studied topic in the field of occupational health psychology. The study focused on white-collar work and highly educated employees in Finland. Boredom at work is experienced by diverse occupational groups. It is associated with poor wellbeing and intentions to quit, and thus has a detrimental effect both on employees and employers. In white-collar work, boredom may emerge from distinct job contexts where individuals are not able to fully use their capabilities. The job may lack reasonable challenges or opportunities to work in a meaningful way. To prevent boredom at work, the job should be matched to the individual’s capabilities and personal values. Furthermore, employees should be encouraged and empowered to craft more mean-

ingful and inspiring jobs for themselves. This dissertation has practical implications for managers and organisations that wish to sustain and improve employee wellbeing, motivation and commitment. Lotta Harju 21.9.2017: Taming the beast of boredom – Exploring ­boredom at work and the role of job crafting. School of Science.

Antibacterial properties of wood Certain wood species have antibacterial properties, i.e., bacteria are killed on their surfaces faster than on other surfaces. Tiina Vainio-Kaila’s doctoral research indicated that the antibacterial properties of Scots pine and Norway spruce are caused by their extractives and lignin. The field of research is bio-product technology. The extracts showed antibacterial effects against two resistant bacteria being studied. No single compound ­could alone explain the antibacterial effect o ­f wood, indicating that it derives from ­­­­­­­ a synergistic effect of several factors. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) th­at evaporate from wood showed an antibacterial effect against certain human pathogens. The results provide a good starting point for the utilisation of w ­ ood’s hygienic properties. In hygienically challenging places, like day care centres, wood is a good surface material choice. Coating wood with a thick layer of lacquer possibly blocks its antibacterial properties, but more breathable coatings should be studied. Also, the impact ageing has on wood calls for further studies. Tiina Vainio-Kaila 3.11.2017: Antibacterial properties of Scots pine and ­Norway spruce. School of Chemical Engineering.

Ball-robot crosses obstacles at home The doctoral thesis of Tomi Ylikorpi was inspired by a ball-shaped domestic robot, which provides companionship and surveillance at home. The aim was to develop models for the design and steering of such robots. The field of the research is automation technology. The work introduces new models for situations in which pendulum-driven ball-robots encounter obstacles. The robot’s ability to overcome obstacles was evaluated through contact models and simulations. Two pendulum-driven ball-­robots

were designed and built for the experimental part of the study. The ­rigid-shelled ball-robot was remote controlled, whereas the flexible-shelled ball-robot was steered by its own computer, which also collected data on the robot’s movements. The ball-­ robots crossed obstacles as high as 13 ­centimetres. The results will help take account of a ball-robot’s dynamic slope-climbing and step-crossing capabilities, providing fresh opportunities for designing the ball’s structure and mass distribution. Optimal forward motion models can also be calculated, enabling the robot to cross thresholds and electric wires at home easily and without wearing out the robot. Tomi Ylikorpi 10.11.2017: Mobility and motion modelling of ­pendulum-driven ball-robots. School of Electrical Engineering.

Contradictory ruin restoration Tuija Lind’s doctoral research in the field of architecture explored the conservation and utilisation potential of stonebuilt, protected ruins in Europe. There is always a contradiction in ruin restoration: the ideal of romantic ruins is that their power lies in their very transiency, whereas science aims to prevent the degeneration of the site. Lind set five objectives for good ruin restoration: strength, beauty, narration, re-utilisation and sustainability. Seven case studies were used to test a method, which requires examining the values of the site from several angles. For example, the conservation of Raseborg Castle in Finland met the objectives of good restoration. By contrast, the great restoration debt of Pompeii makes its sustainability problematic. Furthermore, beauty is lacking as an objective at Pompeii due to the masses of tourists attracted to the site. The work provides tools, which help maintain the decay ideal that ruins represent, when engaging in restoration. Lind has been constantly able to apply her theories to practice in her work ­at ­­ the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. Tuija Lind 17.11.2017: Ruins – visible restorations and invisible ­­­ values: the conservation of ruins and the planning of archaeological areas. (In Finnish) School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Doctoral theses online: aaltodoc.aalto.fi, shop.aalto.fi AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21\ 51


Everyday choices

Pia Fricker, what happens when water meets data?

Adjunct Professor of computational methodologies in landscape architecture and urbanism designs for the natural flow of water. Text: Andrew Flowers Photo: Veera Konsti

Why is water so central to your design? Water is one of the most important issues in design globally. You cannot be holistic in this field without understanding water. Designs should be usable for people throughout the year, and at all different stages of the water body. They should be equally interesting whether there is water or no water. How have you seen climate change impact landscape design? In Switzerland – where I lived and worked for many years – climate change is specifically manifesting in the form of melting glaciers. With the country’s narrow valleys, floods are common twice a year; during autumn rains and when snows melt in the spring. As it’s such a small and mountainous country, there is actually very little space to build on! So working with the water body is extremely important. Your design needs to work even when there are floods. Is that really possible? I’ve done a lot of work on understanding flooding as an element that can have a positive design effect. Designing safe ways to enhance different environmental aspects, so you can enjoy a landscape differently when it floods. With the right amount and quality of data, you can even simulate how a landscape will look after a 100-year flood!

How do you get that data? We are in a complex moment where we’re experiencing a lot of environmental, social and political changes. I view these changes as parameters; as (often) conflicting factors that you should take into consideration when you do a design. For this, traditional thinking is not enough – we also need computational tools and algorithms. Scanning the terrain and presenting it in 3D helps us to design around the parameters.

Name a project in your field that impresses you. The re-naturalisation project of the River Aire in Switzerland. This was a beautiful approach to restoring a river to its original course, while also preserving the canal that had formed around it. Landscape architects took the lead on the project, working with engineers, biologists and architects from the towns nearby to create a wonderful project that works on multiple different levels.

What should all architects know about your field? Sometimes you have a border between landscape architecture and other architecture. I’m working to shift this thinking, so we can design from both perspectives at the same time. Landscape architecture is not just for beautification after something has been constructed. It should be brought into the workflow from the beginning. When you work with a landscape architect who understands the real lie of the land, the soil conditions, and the water course, then you end up with a design that is much more interesting – because it works exactly with the place.

What makes Finland a good place for young landscape architects? There is a huge need here to understand the watershed in light of increased urbanisation and population densification, particularly in some of the near coastal areas around Helsinki. There are a lot of young landscape architectural officers here doing excellent work in this area. They also communicate well about their work and its importance. People here are open minded to our field; to using computational tools and modelling with virtual reality. Architects can experiment here on projects with real intent. What should these young architects know? Have a strong design vision. And ask the right questions. A lot of what I’m doing is teaching students to ask the right question. Because if you ask the right question, you’ll find the right data. •



From library to multipurpose space The Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2017 was awarded to the renovation design of the Harald Herlin Learning Centre. Text: Eeva Lehtinen Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo

library personnel, architects and ­service designers. Services are located thematically: the protected second floor, which retains Alvar Aalto’s original ideas most THE ALVAR Aalto-designed Otaniemi strongly, serves as a library and readcampus library was completed in 1970. ­ A thorough renovation in 2015–16 s­ haped ing room, while the ground floor houses, the building into a modern and multiamong other things, the Visual Resource Centre and a cafeteria. functional space, which was renamed The renovation transformed the the Harald Herlin Learning Centre. The ­bottom floor completely, turning it from community has quickly adopted it as its a book depository to a colourful multi-­ own. On average, the facilities are used purpose space, which contains not only by a thousand people each day, which is clearly more than before the renovation. lounging room, but also a photography and video studio as well as the FabLab The facilities support learning, re­ workshop, where visitors can experiment search­and working. Digitalisation has led to a decrease in the amount of printed with 3D printing. The space also serves material, freeing up space for group work as a venue for exhibitions and events. projects and learning together, independent study and various services. The feel of a new era The operating concept was co-­desig­ The overall design was the responsibility ned­by students, teachers, researchers, of architects Teemu Tuomi and Tuomo

Remes as well as, in the project planning stage, Eeva-Liisa Elo-Lehtinen (­Arkkitehdit NRT). The interior architecture is the handiwork of Päivi ­Meuronen (JKMM Arkkitehdit). “The unique atmosphere of the main spaces is the result of Alvar ­Aalto’s skilful use of natural light. The renewed learning centre still has space for calm and beautiful reading rooms. The changes involved building service ­modernisations, accessibility improvements and development of the furniture and service concepts,” Teemu Tuomi says. The preliminary jury for the Finlandia Prize for Architecture judged that the architectural solutions for the original book storage floors – bare frame structures and modern furniture choices – establish a successful feel of a new era for the totality. The winner of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2017 was chosen by OP Financial Group President & CEO Reijo Karhinen. The prize is awarded for the design or renovation planning of a significant new building or a group of buildings completed in the previous three years. The preliminary jury wanted to showcase high-quality renovation building projects to mark the centenary of Finnish ­independence.

The beautiful features of Alvar Aalto’s distinct design work are most visible on the second floor. 54 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 21


Kari Soinio from the series Beautiful City # 3 and # 2 lambda print attached to faceted glass Dipoli art collection


human-centered living environments the materials of the future New Year’s resolutions


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.