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Wooden canopy curving over the stands. In the front, a white-rendered wall with section and row numbers.
The newly reopened Helsinki Olympic Stadium is the main venue of this year's Helsinki Design Week. The refurbishment and extension were designed by K2S Architects. photo: Wellu Hämäläinen

What to see during Helsinki Design Week?

This year’s Helsinki Design Week, the largest design festival of the Nordics, takes place on 3–13 September. We have gathered some tips for architecture enthusiasts from among over 200 events. Check the full Helsinki Design Week programme through this link.

Main venue: Helsinki Olympic Stadium 

11–13 Sept. 11:00–19:00 
Olympic Stadium
Paavo Nurmen tie 1, Helsinki

The Main Exhibition, PechaKucha Night and Children’s Design Weekend will take place at the Olympic Stadium. The main exhibition is to present topical and interesting fashion, design and architecture. The exhibition will include individual products and installations as well as a comprehensive review of young designers’ works. These include an installation made of concrete and mycelium by studio Caracara, Seitikki by carpenter Antrei Hartikainen and an exhibition of benches curated by Jasper Morrison

PechaKucha Night
12 Sept. 20:00–22:00

The main venue will offer an unforgettable setting for the largest PechaKucha Night in Europe on Saturday the 12th of September. On the stage located on the green of the Stadium, we’ll hear from Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki, director of the new Aalto documentary film Virpi Suutari, CEO of Hakola Anna-Leena Hakola and architect Teemu Kurkela. In addition to a unique architectural experience, the Olympic Stadium provides us with an exceptionally spacious venue with a possibility of seating a 1000 people without compromising the safety distances. More information here.

INSTALLATION: METEORIITTI

Meteoriitti (Meteorite) by Ateljé Sotamaa is an ecological three-storey residential building in Kontionlahti, Finland. From the outside it is like a dark, magical being deep inside a forest. From the inside the building is a light, complex and intimate combination of interconnected rooms. In the middle of the meteorite there is a tall space with a large skylight providing an unobstructed view of the sky. At a height of seven meters, there is a catamaran net where the inhabitants can float. See the whole programme here.

Exhibition: seven chairs

Consistent structures that comply with the features of the materials, and dismountable, sectional and modifiable parts that can be transported and stored in a compact form and eventually recycled as separate materials, are the result of careful design during every stage of the lifecycle of these chairs. Some of these seven chairs are structural experiments that were not meant to be produced as such. Two of the chairs have been in production. The oldest armchair is from 1983 and the newest from 2020. Less is more, produced with fewer raw materials and less energy, not forgetting the sustainable beauty aspect. More information.

HDW Children’s Design Weekend
12–13 Sept. 11:00–16:00

Children are the guests of honour during the weekend at the Olympic Stadium. Entrance is free to the Children’s Design Weekend which will feature a fun and engaging route designed by the designer duo Anna van der Lei and Kristos Mavrostomos around the famous green of the Olympic Stadium. The event is to combine sports and art, allowing kids to have fun while learning new things. Each child deserves a medal, and after the round they’ll get to make their own and pose with the medals on the podium. More information.

Other events

ALVAR AALTO’S ARCHITECTURE: HELSINKI–KOUVOLA CROSSOVER 
CONFERENCE: TIILIMÄKI
3 Sept. 16:00–19:00
Tiilimäki 20, Helsinki

The audience has the possibility to participate in free guided tours and lectures in Alvar Aalto’s studio and enjoy music and food from Kouvola region. The lecture is held by Jonas Malmberg, an architect working for the Alvar Aalto Foundation. This conference is held in Finnish. More information.

ALVAR AALTO’S ARCHITECTURE: HELSINKI–KOUVOLA CROSSOVER
WALK: TEHTAANMÄKI
5 Sept. 9:00–16:30
Pihtojantie 8, Kouvola

An unique possibility to visit and experience the Tehtaanmäki School and the surrounding housing area in Inkeroinen, Kouvola, designed by Alvar Aalto. The tour is held in Finnish. See the whole programme here.

Climate College
4 Sept. 8:30–13:00
Virtual event and Helsinki City Hall

The Climate College introduces speakers with interesting viewpoints about urban planning and an eco-friendly future in cities. The key speakers are Pasi Toiviainen, science editor and PhD researcher from Finland and Ms. Yanling Duan, entrepreneur and design influencer from Beijing. The day is hosted by Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer of the City of Helsinki. The Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, will open the day. Requires registration. See the whole programme here.

OPEN PLACE: OPEN HOUSE HELSINKI
4–6 Sept. 10:00–19:00
Around the city

Open House Helsinki allows visitors into places which normally are not available to the public. This autumn, the event presents walking and bicycling tours in housing areas, parks and other outdoor spaces, such as the post-war wooden housing areas of Marttila and Jollas and the naval academy complex on Suomenlinna fortress island. More information through this link.

VIRTUAL VERNISSAGE: FINNISH ARCHITECTURE. BIENNIAL REVIEW 2020 AND ANOTHER GENEROSITY
4 Sept. 18:00–20:00
Virtual event

Two exhibitions open at the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The biennial review of Finnish architecture offers a cross-section of high-quality Finnish contemporary architecture as assessed by an expert jury. In 2020, the jury consisted of Harri Hautajärvi (Ph.D., architect SAFA), Kirsi Korhonen (architect SAFA) and Martin Braathen (architect, Ph.D.) from the National Museum of Norway (Nasjonaalmuseet). The review is organised by the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA and the Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Another Generosity, presented in the Nordic Pavilion at the 2018 Biennale Architettura in Venice, will be premiered in Finland. The breathable installation by the architect Eero Lundén examines the state of the world and architecture and creates a place for reflecting on the future. More information here.

DISCUSSION and exhibition: THE AESTHETIC OF DISRUPTION
3–13 Sept. 11:00–18:00
Museum of Finnish Architecture
Kasarminkatu 24, Helsinki

The Aesthetics of Disruption is a discussion series and an exhibition in the Studio of the Museum of Finnish Architecture. Organised by Vapaa Collective, the project highlights the essential role of architecture in the climate issue and invites various voices inside and outside the field of architecture to the debate. The installation will be completed as the discussions progress. The final form of the exhibition will not be seen until the last word has been said. More information here.

Designs for a Cooler Planet at Aalto University

NEW LIFE OF GARDENIA
2.9. –25.9
VUORIMIEHENTIE 2A

Instead of causing a huge carbon spike through demolition and new construction, buildings should be given
a new life. Architecture students have developed ideas for the future use of Gardenia Helsinki in Viikki – see how Gardenia would work as a vertical farm, a mosque or a school.

Makers of landscapes
2.9.–25.9.
OTAKAARI 1X, BETASPACE GALLERY

Landscape architecture is a multidisciplinary field, combining architecture, natural sciences and technology, and it has many solutions to climate change, such as sustainable landscape construction, stormwater management and green infrastructure.

INTERPLAY OF CULTUREs
2.9.–25.9.
VUORIMIEHENTIE 2A

Thoughtful planning of cities can play a key role in preventing and alleviating many problems. Architects
should therefore receive proper training to tackle the complex challenges of the future. A selection of student projects celebrates the 25th anniversary of education in global sustainability and humanitarian development at Aalto.