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Enter. Upper Secondary School and Vocational College. K2S Architects Ltd.  The conical skylight above the central staircase. Photo Marko Huttunen.

Museum of Finnish Architecture

About the authors

This book is published in conjunction with The Best School in the

Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen is an architect

World exhibition hosted by the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki,

who works in the Department of

from 8 June to 25 September 2011.

Cultural Environment Protection at

‘Schools’, an abridged version of the exhibition, was presented at the

the National Board of Antiquities.

Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010.

She is currently preparing her doc-

Exhibition design and selection of schools by Roy Mänttäri

toral thesis on school architecture.

Project leader: Juulia Kauste

Eriika Johansson, MA, works as a

Project team: Hannu Hellman, Eriika Johansson, Maija Kasvio, Juulia Kauste,

researcher at the Museum of Finnish

Roy Mänttäri, Kristiina Nivari, Kristiina Paatero, Elina Standertskjöld


Editor: Maija Kasvio

Kaisa Nuikkinen, PhD, is Head Archi-

Image editor: Eriika Johansson

tect for school design at the Helsinki

Translation and language consultation: Silja Kudel

City Education Department.

Graphic design: Salla Bedard Pasi Sahlberg, PhD, is Director Gen© Museum of Finnish Architecture and the authors

eral of CIMO, an organisation for

© Photographs: the designers of the schools

international mobility and cooperation under the Finnish Ministry of Educa-

Cover images

tion and Culture.

Front: Enter. Upper Secondary School and Vocational College. K2S Architects Ltd. Photo Marko Huttunen. Back: Comprehensive School in Joensuu. Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects. Photo Jussi Tiainen. Inside: The Large Hand by Stig Baumgartner Printers: Art-Print Oy, Helsinki 2011 ISBN 978-952-5195-37-8 This work has been published with the financial assistance of the FILI Finnish Literature Exchange.

Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Juulia Kauste Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Eriika Johansson Learning Spaces: How They Meet Evolving Educational Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Kaisa Nuikkinen Educational Progress in Finland and What We Can Learn from It . . . . . . . . . .


Pasi Sahlberg Schools Site descriptions by Eriika Johansson Strömberg School, Helsinki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Kari Järvinen and Merja Nieminen, Architects SAFA Viikki Teacher Training School, Helsinki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Ark-House Architects Hiidenkivi School, Helsinki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Häkli Architects Sakarinmäki School, Östersundom School, Helsinki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sari Nieminen Architect, FLN Architects Comprehensive School, Joensuu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects Enter. Upper Secondary School and Vocational College, Sipoo . . . . . . . . . . . . .


K2S Architects Ltd Kirkkojärvi School, Espoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Verstas Architects Ltd Setting the Scene for Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen

Preface Juulia Kauste Director, Museum of Finnish Architecture

The Finnish school system has been highly praised worldwide for the high national average scores attained by Finnish students in the OECD’s international PISA surveys. In recent years, Finnish school-aged children have performed well in all subjects ranging from mathematics to reading skills and sciences. But what makes Finnish schools such a great success? In this book, experts on education and architecture seek answers to this intriguing question by looking at today’s schools from a variety of angles. The book provides an overview of the Finnish school system and the buildings which serve as learning environments in contemporary Finnish society. It emphasises the role of schools as a fundamentally egalitarian institution offering free and equal education to all through a strong system of public funding both for the design and construction of schools and for the education offered in them. Kaisa Nuikkinen, Head Architect at the Helsinki City Education Department, discusses school buildings as learning environments. Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation, looks at educational progress in Finland since the 1970s, analysing the impact of major reforms carried out in 1972–77. Finally, Sirkka-Liisa Jetsonen, an architect at the National Board of Antiquities, provides a general outline of the Finnish education system and its buildings. The book presents seven examples of contemporary Finnish school buildings. These were originally selected by the architect Roy Mänttäri for an exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2010. Eriika Johansson, a researcher at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, wrote both the introduction and the descriptions of the buildings, highlighting the key elements that guide the design of school buildings in Finland today. The book was conceived in conjunction with “The Best School in the World” exhibition presented at the Museum of Finnish Architecture in the summer of 2011.

Left: Kirkkojärvi School. Verstas Architects Ltd. The main entrance stands directly between the two wings designated for the upper- and lower-level comprehensive schools. It opens onto a high-ceilinged vestibule and stairs leading down to the lunch room. The upper-level school is more public by nature, being fully integrated with the school’s common areas. Photo Rauno Träskelin.

Introduction Eriika Johansson

Tuition provided in Finnish schools is regulated by the Finnish National Board of Education. The Board drafts the national core curriculum and ensures that all schools comply with its agreed content and objectives, guaranteeing all pupils their constitutional right to equal access to uniform standards of education. In autumn 2010 there were 2,800 comprehensive schools in Finland with a combined total of 524,200 pupils. Ninety-seven per cent of all Finnish schools are administered by local authorities. The Board of Education also lays down broad guidelines for what it defines as the ‘learning environment’, which includes everything from the physical setting of individual classrooms to the school’s natural and communal surroundings. Aesthetic aspects are subject to special recommendations. The quality of any learning environment ultimately depends not only on its standard of amenities but the overall functionality of the whole school setting. A school should be a place that is physically, psychologically and socially safe, promoting the child’s growth, health and learning as well as their positive interaction with teachers and fellow pupils. A sound learning environment is founded on good design and the healthy interaction that this fosters. School architecture is inescapably influenced by the educational philosophies prevailing at any given period in history. Being the only visible public buildings in many localities, schools have special local value as an expression of the ethos, aesthetic sensibilities and technical expertise of their era. With time, however, schools must adapt to the changing needs of new generations. They provide a venue not only for daily lessons, but also for after-school child care, sports clubs, night school and various recreational activities, calling for a considerable degree of architectural flexibility. Today’s architects must furthermore think beyond the building’s envisaged lifespan as a school. In line with the principles of sustainable development, longevity is a key aspiration for new schools built in the 2000s. Ensuring that the building is easy to maintain and repair is important for its ecological sustainability. It should also be readily adaptable not only for economic reasons, but also for its cultural sustainability from generation to generation. Interestingly, most of the schools presented in this publication were originally designed as entries in architectural competitions. Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 15 competitions were held in Finland for primary and secondary schools in various parts of the country. New Finnish schools built in the 2000s are a combination of tried-and-tested solutions and a variety of innovations rendering them distinct from schools built in the previous century.

Above: Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences Kasarminmäki Campus, Paja exhibition and café building, Kouvola 2010. Architects NRT Ltd. Photo Tuomas Uusheimo.

A popular solution seen in many new schools is a spacious, multipurpose vestibule. The prevalence of these public gathering places marks a conscious strategy to build a sense of communality. An inspiring, aesthetically pleasing environment enhances the well-being of all who use it. Added to this, a well-designed school should also offer private nooks free of visual barriers where pupils can enjoy a moment of solitude without the need for additional supervision. Solutions maximising the amount of incoming sunlight form an enduring motif in Finnish school architecture. There is never enough light during the dark winter months, yet from June to August – when the sunlight streaming through the large glass surfaces could overheat the interiors – all Finnish schools are closed for the summer holidays.

Learning Spaces: How They Meet Evolving Educational Needs Kaisa Nuikkinen

What Makes a Building a School?

Above and beyond all the usual building recommendations, school architecture is guided by the national core curriculum and specific pedagogical requirements. School curricula are based on historical, social, political and economic circumstances that reflect the aspirations and educational ideals of their day. The mandate of education is to pass on our cultural legacy from generation to generation, help students develop skills of critical assessment, create new cultural capital, introduce new paradigms of thought and practice, and arm students with the proficiencies for functioning successfully in work and society. Learning is a context-dependent exercise that is invariably grounded in the situation, environment and culture in which new knowledge is acquired and applied. The mission of every school is to promote learning, and it is the teacher’s task to make the most of everything in the learning environment that supports this. Teachers and their teaching strategies, too, are influenced by various environmental factors such as the surrounding architecture and the pedagogical opportunities it offers. In other words, learning is inseparable from the physical environment in which it takes place, and architecture is an integral part of the functional design of the school environment. Given the context-dependent nature of learning, a school’s architectural goals are much the same as its more general aims. Schools should promote physical, mental and social health and welfare as well as provide an inspirational developmental setting and a work environment that promotes good occupational health and fitness for work. It should furthermore promote equality and cultural edification. It should serve various user groups and cater for the divergent needs of boys and girls and their developmental differences. The guiding aim of all schools is to ensure that every day is a good and safe one for all students by providing the best possible environment for their welfare, personal development and learning. Contemporary theory emphasises learning as an active, hands-on experience. First, however, the student must perceive it as being personally meaningful. Learning is meaningful when the student sees where to apply what they learn and why it is significant. There are many different ways of learning: by doing, experimenting, researching, categorising, comparing, analysing and assessing. Learning engages all the senses, and there are various techniques for achieving this: autonomous study, pair work, group exercises, play and drama. For a good outcome, the student must also have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. 10

Above: The Lohipato Unit of Tervaväylä School, Oulu 2009. Linja Architects Ltd. This special unit serves as a school and home for children with multiple disabilities. It is the only Nordic school to be selected as one of 60 exemplary educational facilities in the OECD Designing for Education Project. OECD/ CELE Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011. Photo Timo Koljonen.

School Buildings in Former Times

In the past it was not customary to question what teachers taught or what schools looked like. Learning took place in a standard-type classroom, with the teacher imparting facts to pupils seated in orderly rows behind their desks. The school was cordoned off from real life and the classroom door shut as a symbolic gesture excluding all prior knowledge from the outside world. The shut door also inscribed the classroom as the teacher’s private domain: they alone were in charge of all learning that took place within its secluded walls. The closed door furthermore made clear that student mobility was subject to the teacher’s permission. Seating the students at separate desks precluded social interaction and represented a view of learning as an individual accomplishment. Schools were viewed as something akin to adult establishments such as offices, factories or hospitals, or disciplinary and custodial institutions such as army barracks, mental hospitals or prisons. Like these institutions, schools upheld the same demand for unflagging self-discipline and fortitude, with schoolwork perceived as something comparable to forced wage labour, instilling in the students an appreciation for the freedom conferred by occasional breaks and recesses. The orderly interiors of old schoolhouses trace back to the medieval scriptorium, the libraries where monastic scribes worked in neat rows seated at their writing desks. School architecture has also borrowed elements from residential buildings and factory halls. 11

Educational Progress in Finland and What We Can Learn from It Pasi Sahlberg

With Finland attracting global attention for its high-performing education system, it bears asking whether there has been any progress in this performance since the 1980s. If progress can be reliably identified, then the question is: What factors might underlie successful education reform? The significant feature of the Finnish education system is its steady progress over the past three decades within four main domains: 1 the increased level of educational attainment among the adult population; 2 the widespread equity of educational outcomes; 3 a high international level of student learning; and 4 moderate overall spending, almost solely from public sources. Good education systems need to perform well in all four of these domains. How, then, has Finland performed in each of them since the 1970s?

Basic educa�on

Secondary educa�on

Ter�ary educa�on







20 %

40 %

60 %

80 %

100 %

Figure 1: Level of educational attainment among the Finnish adult population (15 years and older) since 1975 (source: Statistics Finland). Above: Kalasatama School and Day Nursery, sketch, Helsinki. JKMM Architects. Codename Wigwam in an architectural competition held in 2010, scheduled for completion in 2014.

Finland as a Successful Reformer

First, there has been steady growth in participation in all levels of education in Finland since 1970. This growth has been especially rapid in the upper-secondary education sector in the 1980s and, subsequently, within higher education and adult learning from the 1990s up to the present. Education policies and related reform principles in Finland have focused on creating equal education opportunities for all and thereby increasing participation in education throughout Finnish society. At the same time, more than 99% of the age cohort successfully completes compulsory education and about 95% continue their education in upper secondary schools or in the optional 10th grade of comprehensive school (some 3%) immediately after graduation. Of all young Finns, over 90% eventually receive their school leaving certificate providing access to higher education. Two thirds of those enrol either in academic universities or professionally oriented polytechnics. Finally, more than 50% of the Finnish adult population participates in adult education programmes. The rising educational level of Finnish adults is shown in Figure 1.


Kari Järvinen and Merja Nieminen, Architects SAFA

Strömberg School Takomotie 11, Helsinki Invited competition 1996, completed 2000 Kari Järvinen and Merja Nieminen, Architects SAFA Design team: Jouko Piilola, Heikki Prokkola, Jaakko Haapanen Courtyard design: MA-arkkitehdit Oy/Marja Mikkola

Above: The glass partition between the two homerooms can be opened if desired. Photo Arno de la Chapelle. Opposite: Photo Arno de la Chapelle.


The school lies in the Helsinki suburb of Pitäjänmäki, on a former industrial estate now filled with blocks of flats housing 3,000 residents. This former technical college designed in the 1960s by Risto-Veikko Luukkonen currently serves as a day-care centre and lower comprehensive school. The elongated low-rise building mass with horizontal strip windows offers a typical sample of 1960s school architecture, with classrooms on two floors aligned along the full length of a long corridor. When the school was modernised, the separate machine engineering workshop and classrooms were joined by a new atrium, or ‘living room’, where an inviting fire crackles in the open fireplace every morning. Finnish schools were formerly heated with iron stoves, but in the 1980s postmodernism made fireplaces part of the interior decoration. The formerly cramped central hallway has been opened up with glass partitions and generous skylights. The entire building now has a lighter, brighter colour scheme. Above the main atrium there is a winter garden and reading loft. The large windows throughout the building admit ample sunlight. There are also glass partitions between the small homerooms, which are grouped in pairs. Each homeroom is shared by two classes. Rather than having their own desks, each pupil has an assigned storage box for their school supplies. The school applies the pedagogical principles of Célestin Freinet, a proponent of learning by doing. The pupils accordingly spend half the day outside their homeroom. The former technical college houses numerous ‘shops’, as they are called, where age-integrated classes learn by doing, experiencing and experimenting. The school adheres to the official national curriculum, yet with an underlined hands-on approach. Each lesson lasts 90 minutes. There are two half-hour recesses during which the children play in the schoolyard or use the neighbouring sports field. The day-care centre is at the far end of the classroom wing and has its own fenced outdoor play area.


ARK-House Architects

Viikki Teacher Training School Kevätkatu 2, Helsinki Invited competition 1999, completed 2003 ARK-House Architects/Markku Erholtz, Hannu Huttunen, Jussi Karjalainen, Minna Soukka Greenery design: Satu Niemelä Artist: Kaarina Kaikkonen

Below: The eastern end and schoolyard are used by lower-level students and preschoolers. Photo Voitto Niemelä. Opposite: The school’s western end and schoolyard are reserved for upper-level students. Photo Voitto Niemelä.


The Viikki Teacher Training School is one of Finland’s largest schools. It offers education of all levels and is attended by pupils of all ages. Finnish children start school the year they turn seven. Compulsory comprehensive education lasts nine years. Before starting school they are entitled to one year of optional pre-primary education at a day-care centre or preschool. The Viikki Teacher Training School comprises a preschool, upper- and lower-level comprehensive schools and an upper secondary school. The building serves 940 pupils and about 360 teachers, trainees and other personnel. Administered by the University of Helsinki’s Department of Teacher Education, the school not only educates children but also trains future teachers. There are twelve other university-run teacher training schools in Finland.


Häkli Architects

Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School Rajatie 7, Helsinki Completed 2004 Häkli Architects/Seppo Häkli Project architect: Pertti Noponen; design team: Jaakko Keppo, Pekka Salminen, Kaisa Tynkkynen Interior and furniture design: Konehuone sisustusarkkitehdit/ Mervi Ala-Luusua, Ari Jääskö, Jorma Valkama Greenery and environmental design: Soile Heikkinen

The City of Helsinki stipulates that architects must consult a pedagogical expert in the design of new schools. Hiidenkivi Comprehensive was designed in collaboration with the school principal and vice principal. Like Strömberg School, Hiidenkivi Comprehensive applies a pedagogical strategy based on hands-on learning by doing. Group activities have focal importance as a means of advancing interaction skills, tolerance and a positive sense of self. Tuition is inclusive; children with special needs learn together with non-disabled students. The school is large, with roughly 800 pupils aged seven to sixteen (Years 1–9). The lower-level comprehensive pupils live locally, but the upper-level students are also from neighbouring suburbs. The floor plan follows a scheme popular in Finnish school architecture since the 1960s, with small groups of classrooms arranged around a social space, or ‘extended learning area’. The three lower-level homeroom groups are on the first floor on the north side of the building, each with a dedicated entrance. The upperlevel subject classrooms are on the ground floor. Despite this functional separation, social interaction is encouraged between pupils of different ages. Art, craft subjects and information technology are taught in age-integrated classes. With large desks and plenty of chairs, the ‘extended learning areas’ are used for daily classes, especially for group activities. The upper-level classrooms are grouped by subject, forming clusters like mathematics and science, art and craft subjects. The teachers plan their lessons together and occasionally combine classes. Using the extended learning areas, they can divide up their classes into appropriate small groups for various activities. Each teacher chooses the methods best suited to their particular subject. The furnishings are easy to rearrange for various needs. The exterior profile is rich in visual variety. There is a functional division between the separate wings, with sheltered yards and play areas between them. Pupils aged 7–11 (Years 1–5) spend recess outdoors. Older students can choose whether they wish to spend recess indoors or outdoors. The school’s inner courtyard is reserved for upper-level students.




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Pohjois-Helsingin oppilaaksiottoalueelle. Uuden perusKoulun tilaohjelmayläasteen on mitoitettu noin 600 peruskoulun oppilaalle. koulun tarkoitus on erityisoppilaita, helpottaa tilantarvetta Helsingin koillisessa Koulussa on myös jotka opiskelevat avoimen koulun suurpiirissä. Alueella on toiminutoppilaiden 58 peruskoulun opetusryhmää tapaan yhdessä yleisopetuksen kanssa. tilapäistiloissa.

Hiidenkiven peruskoulun rakennustyöt aloitettiin helmikuussa 2003. Rakennuksen runkotyöt valmistuivat kesän alussa ja vesikattotyöt HIIDENKIVEN PERUSKOULU kesän aikana. Aikataulun mukaisesti rakennus valmistui kesäkuun lopussa 2004 ja koulutyö alkoi syyslukukauden 2004 alussa. Hiidenkiven peruskoulu sijoittuu nykyiselle Tapanilan ala-asteen ja

Hiidenkiven peruskoulu sijoittuu nykyiselle Tapanilan ala-asteen ja Pohjois-Helsingin yläasteen oppilaaksiottoalueelle. Uuden peruskoulun tarkoitus on helpottaa tilantarvetta Helsingin koillisessa suurpiirissä. Alueella on toiminut 58 peruskoulun opetusryhmää tilapäistiloissa.





Sisäänkäyntipiha ja pääsisäänkäynti avautuvat länteen Rajatien Koulun rakenne jakautuu apiloihin suuntaan. Keskeisen pääsisäänkäynnin yhteydessä ovat kahden kerroksen korkuiset aula, kirjasto ja "teatteriravintola" -tilat. Saliin Rakennus ja toiminta on suunniteltu että ne tarjoavatsamoin hyvät kuin liittyvä näyttämötila toimii pienempiensiten, lasten liikuntatilana edellytykset koulun toiminta-ajatuksen opetukselle. toisen kerroksen monitoimitila. Isommatmukaiselle oppilaat jakautuvat useiden Opetuksen suunnittelussa ja toteutuksessa huomioon sisäänkäyntien kautta oppilasauloihin, joissaotetaan heillä on kotiluokkien oppilaiden erilaiset valmiudet koulutyöskentelyyn. Keskeistä sijasta kotipesät oppilaskaappeineen. opetuksessa ovat erilaiset yhteistyöhön perustuvat menetelmät,

Rakennuksen runkotyöt kesänettä alussa ja vesikattotyöt Rakennus ja toiminta on valmistuivat suunniteltu siten, ne tarjoavat hyvät kesän aikana. Aikataulun mukaisesti rakennus valmistui kesäkuun edellytykset koulun toiminta-ajatuksen mukaiselle opetukselle. lopussa 2004 ja koulutyö alkoi syyslukukauden 2004huomioon alussa. Opetuksen suunnittelussa ja toteutuksessa otetaan oppilaiden erilaiset valmiudet koulutyöskentelyyn. Keskeistä Koulun tilaohjelma on mitoitettu noin 600perustuvat peruskoulun oppilaalle. opetuksessa ovat erilaiset yhteistyöhön menetelmät, Koulussa on myös erityisoppilaita, jotka opiskelevat avoimen koulun joissa korostuu oppilaiden oma aktiivinen työskentely. tapaan yhdessä yleisopetuksen oppilaiden kanssa.

Koulun rakenne jakautuu apiloihin Hiidenkiven peruskoulun rakennustyöt aloitettiin helmikuussa 2003.

sijasta kotipesät oppilaskaappeineen. Hankkeen rakennussuunnittelusta vastasi Arkkitehtitoimisto Häkli Ky, kalustesuunnittelusta Konehuone sisustusarkkitehdit, pihaKoulun rakenne perustuu apiloihin, joissarakennesuunnittelusta on kussakin 4-5 opetustilaa, suunnittelusta Soile Heikkinen / Virearc, opettajan työhuone ja varastotilaa. Koulun 1. kerroksessa A-Insinöörit Oy, LVI-suunnittelusta Insinööritoimisto Olof sijaitsevat Granlund Oy, historian ja uskonnon, äidinkielen, matematiikan luonnontieteen sähkösuunnittelusta Insinööritoimisto Stacon Oy,ja pohjarakennusapilat sekä teknisen työn,kaupungin kuvaamataidon ja tekstiilityön opetustilat, suunnittelusta Helsingin kiinteistöviraston geotekninen jotka toimivat myös iltakäytönHKR-Arkkitehtuuriosasto, tiloina. Toisessa kerroksessa, muusta osasto, keittiösuunnittelusta akustisesta koulusta rauhoitettuina ovat pienempien oppilaiden kotiluokka-apilat, suunnittelusta Insinööritoimisto Akukon Oy ja näyttämöteknisestä joihin on käyntiIdés suoraan suunnittelusta Mikkopihalta. Hausmann. Koulussa on kaksi taideteosta

joissa oma aktiivinen Koulunkorostuu rakenneoppilaiden perustuu apiloihin, joissa työskentely. on kussakin 4-5 opetustilaa, opettajan työhuone ja varastotilaa. Koulun 1. kerroksessa sijaitsevat Sisäänkäyntipiha ja pääsisäänkäynti avautuvat länteen Rajatien historian ja uskonnon, äidinkielen, matematiikan ja luonnontieteen suuntaan. pääsisäänkäynnin ovatopetustilat, kahden apilat sekäKeskeisen teknisen työn, kuvaamataidonyhteydessä ja tekstiilityön kerroksen korkuiset aula, kirjasto ja "teatteriravintola" -tilat. Saliin jotka toimivat myös iltakäytön tiloina. Toisessa kerroksessa, muusta liittyvä näyttämötila toimii pienempien lasten liikuntatilana samoin kuin koulusta rauhoitettuina ovat pienempien oppilaiden kotiluokka-apilat, toisenon kerroksen monitoimitila. joihin käynti suoraan pihalta.Isommat oppilaat jakautuvat useiden sisäänkäyntien kautta oppilasauloihin, joissa heillä on kotiluokkien

suunnittelusta Insinööritoimisto Lisätietoja hankkeesta antaa:Akukon Oy ja näyttämöteknisestä suunnittelusta Idés Mikko Hausmann. Koulussa on kaksiopetusvirasto, taideteosta Projektiarkkitehti Riitta Söderholm, Helsingin kaupungin joiden3108 suunnittelusta ja toteutuksesta vastasivat kuvataiteilijat puh. 6409 tai 050 401 3120 Stig Baumgartner ja Kari Soinio.

suunnittelusta Soile Heikkinen / Virearc, rakennesuunnittelusta Hankkeen rakennustöistä vastasi Rakennusosakeyhtiö Hartela, A-Insinöörit Oy Oy,Hedpro LVI-suunnittelusta Insinööritoimisto Olof Granlund Oy, sähkötöistä Ab, putkitöistä Vimare Oy / Putkipale, sähkösuunnittelusta Insinööritoimisto Stacon Oy, pohjarakennusilmanvaihtotöistä LVI-Juva Oy ja taloautomaatiotöistä Aresys Oy. suunnittelusta Helsingin kaupungin kiinteistöviraston geotekninen osasto, keittiösuunnittelusta HKR-Arkkitehtuuriosasto, akustisesta

joiden suunnittelusta ja toteutuksesta vastasivat kuvataiteilijat Hankkeen rakennussuunnittelusta Stig Baumgartner ja Kari Soinio. vastasi Arkkitehtitoimisto Häkli Ky, kalustesuunnittelusta Konehuone sisustusarkkitehdit, piha-

Lisätietoja hankkeesta antaa: Projektiarkkitehti Riitta Söderholm, Helsingin kaupungin opetusvirasto, puh. 3108 6409 tai 050 401 3120

Hankkeen rakennustöistä vastasi Rakennusosakeyhtiö Hartela, sähkötöistä Oy Hedpro Ab, putkitöistä Vimare Oy / Putkipale, ilmanvaihtotöistä LVI-Juva Oy ja taloautomaatiotöistä Aresys Oy.

Above: Fronting a colourful assortment of low-rise residential buildings, the main elevation is clad with light-coloured panels. At right is the arts & crafts wing, at left the upperlevel classrooms. Photo Jussi Tiainen.

Left: Floor plan. Ground floor (left) and first floor (right).

Sari Nieminen Architect, FLN Architects

Sakarinmäki School, Östersundom School Knutersintie 924, Helsinki Invited competition 2002 (FLN Architects/Sari Nieminen, Esa Laaksonen, Kimmo Friman), completed 2005 Project architect: Jari Frondelius Furniture design: Konehuone sisustusarkkitehdit/ Mervi Alaluusua (loose furniture)

The school is located in a sparsely populated semi-rural area on a former farming estate. Formerly part of Sipoo, the area was recently annexed to the City of Helsinki and has been zoned for a large amount of housing development. The building comprises a day-care centre, two schools – one Finnish, the other Swedish-speaking – a parish centre and a library. Altogether the school has about 350 pupils aged 7–16 (Years 1–9), plus 100 children in day care. Used throughout the week for both work and recreation, the building serves as a focal point and multipurpose civic centre for the local community. In the evenings and on weekends it offers a venue for various recreational groups, associations, adult classes, music lessons and children’s clubs. Warm and approachable like an old-fashioned village schoolhouse, the building has been adopted as the new heart of the community. An imposing, monumental effect was intentionally avoided in its design. The wooden exteriors are painted in traditional red and yellow ochre combined with a shade of grey evoking the colour of untreated, weather-beaten wood. The working title of the design used affectionately by the architect and client was “barn village”. The layout is designed around five ‘barns’ or wings. The Finnish- and Swedishspeaking pupils occupy separate buildings, as does the day-care centre. The other two buildings are for the school gym, kitchen and teachers’ offices. Each wing has a dedicated entrance, yet all converge on a glass-enclosed ‘piazza’ or atrium, which serves as a common dining area. Although the ceiling is high, careful acoustic design prevents echoes. In the middle of the atrium there is an open fireplace resembling a traditional Finnish sauna stove. The elevations and the walls of the atrium feature identical wooden panelling. The rhythmically arranged columns reiterate the effect of the tree trunks in the surrounding forest.


Opposite: East facade. Below: Finnish-speaking pupils spend recess in this yard. Photo Arno de la Chapelle.


Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects

Comprehensive school in Joensuu Koskikatu 10, Joensuu Invited competition 2003 (Ilmari Lahdelma, Rainer Mahlamäki, Heikki Viiri; assistants: Samuli Sallinen, Adactive Oy/Arttu Hyttinen), completed 2006 Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects/Ilmari Lahdelma Project architect: Heikki Viiri; design team: Petri Saarelainen, Paula Julin, Pia Rantanen, Miguel Silva, Tarja Suvisto, Risto Wikberg, Leila Hyttinen, Hanna Suomi, Liisa Viljakainen (fixed and loose furniture), Anne Harju (fixed furniture)

Below: Section. The red cube mounted above the central atrium is a private meeting room. Opposite: Photo Jussi Tiainen


Located in the heart of Joensuu, the school forms part of a cluster of important landmarks flanking the town’s main boulevards, including the city theatre, market square, art museum, university and main public parks. The architecture underlines its function as a public building, with exteriors finished in dark copper, glass and other sophisticated materials fitting its prominent location. Dark copper accents are repeated in the entrance hall, but the interior colour scheme is otherwise sunny and exuberant. Designer furniture accentuates the school’s prestigious image. The school has roughly 400 upper-level comprehensive students and 40 teachers. The layout is similar to that of Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School, with affiliated subject classrooms grouped together in discrete ‘learning units’. The windmillshaped plan divides the classrooms into four wings connected by a central atrium. There are no dedicated homerooms; the students migrate between subject classrooms throughout the day. Orientation is made easy by each wing and learning unit having its own identifying colour, which is also reiterated in the décor. The colours were chosen based on their moods and psychosocial effects.


K2S Architects Ltd

Enter. Upper Secondary School and Vocational College Iso Kylätie 14, Sipoo Invited competition 2003, completed 2007 K2S Architects Ltd/Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola, Mikko Summanen Design team: Tuukka Vuori, Matias Manninen, Laura Vara, Antti Lehto, Osma Lindroos, Ilona Palmunen, Stijn Colpaert, Keigo Masuda, Abel Groenewolt

Unlike the other schools described above, this institution in the Sipoo community of Nikkilä is attended by slightly older students aged 15–19. The school is relatively small, with a combined total of about 400 students. After completing comprehensive school, Finnish students can continue their studies at an upper secondary school or vocational institution. Upper secondary schools provide general education normally lasting three years. After passing the national matriculation examinations, students may apply to study at a tertiary institution such as a university or polytechnic (university of applied sciences), or alternatively choose a vocational college. Vocational colleges are also open to students who have not matriculated. A vocational diploma usually takes three years to complete, equipping the student with the skills and qualifications for future employment in their chosen field. The Enter Vocational College offers diplomas in commerce, information technology and electrical installation. The students are also free to combine upper-secondary school and vocational courses. The red-stained pine elevations blend harmoniously with the green blinds in the expansive windows. The street-front entrance is recessed within a small semicircular courtyard. The sunny entrance hall is split-level. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the entrance hall provide sweeping views of the park-like grounds. Left, top: The central staircase. Photo Marko Huttunen. Opposite: The street-front entrance. Photo Marko Huttunen.



Verstas Architects Ltd

Kirkkojärvi School Kotikyläntie 6, Espoo Competition 2006, completed 2010 Verstas Architects Ltd/Väinö Nikkilä, Jussi Palva, Riina Palva, Ilkka Salminen Project architect: Jari Saajo Interior design: Karola Sahi in collaboration with Verstas Architects Ltd Landscaping: LOCI maisema-arkkitehdit Oy/Milla Hakari, Pia Kuusiniemi in collaboration with Verstas Architects Ltd

The new school building was completed in summer 2010 shortly before the start of the new academic year in autumn. The school accommodates about 770 students aged 7–16 (Years 1–9). It also offers optional preschool tuition to children aged six. Ninety-eight per cent of all children from Espoo attend preschool. A large number of pupils at the school have a migrant background. Some are new arrivals in Finland; others were born into migrant families. Some have Finnish parents yet spent their early childhood abroad. The tuition is designed to cater for their varied skill levels. Finnish is taught as a first language to Finnish-speaking children and as a second language to migrant children, who are also offered optional tuition in their native language. During 2008–2009, the school provided home- language upkeep tuition in 32 different languages. The premises and schoolyard are functionally divided to serve different age groups. The smaller of the two wings is occupied by the lower-level comprehensive school. The classrooms are grouped around two social spaces, each with its own dedicated vestibule and entrance. The curved mass of the building separates the two schoolyards, with favourable orientations for children of different ages. Warmed by the rising sun, the east-facing schoolyard is for lower-level students, who finish school soon after midday. The children spend their 15-minute recess outdoors. The schoolyard provides an inspirational setting for physical activity. Running parallel to a slope, the building occupies a large hilly plot, its natural variations contributing to a visually inspiring landscape design. The pupils have a 45-minute lunch break at midday. All Finnish schools serve a hot, nutritionally balanced meal free of charge. Special portions are set aside for children with different dietary requirements for health or ethical reasons. School meals have many functions: they keep the children alert and energetic, promote healthy dietary habits and teach good table manners and etiquette. All pupils dine in a shared spacious dining hall where the two wings converge. The kitchen and buffet are behind the stairs descending to the dining hall.


Photo Tuomas Uusheimo.


Setting the Scene for Learning Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen

Pupils seated in orderly rows listening attentively to the teacher, who sits lecturing from a desk on a raised platform in front of the blackboard: this was the authoritarian didactic setting of the traditional classroom. The need for a more flexible, adaptable alternative was recognised in Finland back in the 1970s, but only with the advent of new multiform learning methods over the past ten or fifteen years has Finnish school architecture begun to genuinely address the spatial needs of contemporary education. This renewal was made possible in the 1990s when Finnish authorities deregulated the funding of school architecture. Education has always been highly respected in Finnish society, where we embrace the principle that everyone should enjoy the right to a free schooling.


Opposite: Enter. Upper Secondary School and Vocational College, Sipoo 2007. K2S Architects Ltd. Photo Marko Huttunen. Above: Karisto School and Day Nursery, Lahti 2010. Tilatakomo Architects. Wood is used extensively throughout the building. The supporting frame is laminated timber and the outer walls are timber elements. This multipurpose building also houses a local branch of the City Library. Photos Jussi Tiainen.

Education is regarded as a pillar of democracy and the welfare state, and also as the mainstay of our social and economic development. Throughout the 2000s, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has conducted a series of surveys evaluating how well students around the world have acquired the knowledge and skills essential for a rewarding life and full participation in the professional world and society of the future. Finnish students have achieved top-level results in every survey, notably in science, but also in mathematics and literacy skills. In addition to skills that can be measured, schools also equip students with a complex array of proficiencies for their future lives, not least in terms of their social integration. The stated mission of one of the schools featured in this exhibition is to provide students with “the knowledge and skills for life, further education and lifelong learning� – expressly in this order of priority. The school buildings of today and tomorrow should be open, transparent, adaptable and flexible. New learning methods are reshaping the design of school buildings to a growing degree. Homerooms and small group settings, workshops, areas for autonomous work, self-directed study and practical activity emphasise a studentcentred approach rather than a teacher-centred one. By the same token, school architecture still faces the overriding practical imperatives of upkeep, maintenance and economic and operative efficiency. Being key public buildings in the local townscape and community, schools are an important part of our everyday architectural surroundings. In the evenings they provide a venue for various recreational activities and meetings, serving not only students and teachers, but also the wider community at large.



Museum of Finnish Architecture www.mfa.fi

The Best School in the World: Seven Finnish Examples from the 21st Century  

The 80-page English-language catalogue of the MFA exhibition The Best School in the World is designed especially for international audiences...

The Best School in the World: Seven Finnish Examples from the 21st Century  

The 80-page English-language catalogue of the MFA exhibition The Best School in the World is designed especially for international audiences...