Fernando Nieto and Rosana Rubio
The theme of the Architectural Design VI course for the Spring 2022 semester is an educational centre and public library in the Kaukajärvi area of Tampere. The course assignment, prepared in collaboration with the City of Tampere, includes the expansion of the existing building of the Kaukajärvi international school by the inclusion of complementary learning spaces for pre-primary school and basic education, and the addition of a daycare centre, youth facilities and a public library that serves the school and is open to the general public.
To support the assignment and the overall design process, the course is inviting some of the best architecture practices in school and library architecture in Finland and abroad. Leading architects from the award-winning architecture offices JKMM Architects (1 February), Verstas Architects (8 February), MADC Architects (15 February) and Esa Ruskeepää Architects (22 February) will give guest lectures in the course. The lectures are open to students at the entire Tampere School of Architecture.
In the Architectural Design VI course, students investigate the possibilities of demanding architectural programmes for public buildings located in urban or suburban contexts. The students’ proposals should consider the urban and environmental conditions of the specific location to suggest an architectural solution that responses to those conditions and is developed at typological, spatial and material levels. The course themes vary on a yearly basis by including a combination of public functions that very often result into mixed-use buildings.
The maiden edition of the course in 2019 explored the dialectics between content and container in architecture with the theme of a museum in Helsinki’s South Harbour (Eteläsatama). The course, organised in collaboration with the Aalto University Department of Architecture and the Museum of Finnish Architecture, was connected to the actual plans by the Finnish Government and the City of Helsinki of combining the existing buildings for the architecture and design museums in Helsinki in one only entity. In the year 2020, in collaboration with the Tampere University’s campus development office, the course explored the theme of higher education facilities through a research hub that included spaces for learning and social interaction on the Hervanta campus in Tampere. In 2021, students with the help of teachers explored the combination of a multifunctional sports centre with leisure facilities related to water (spa, wellbeing centre and public sauna) in the developing area of Viinikanlahti in Tampere.
The course’s teaching offer includes external expertise yearly in the form of guest lecturers and reviewers that are specialists in the specific course theme, usually strongly connected to the architectural practice at the highest level. Main designers and leaders of prestigious architecture offices such as estudio Herreros, Avanto Architects or AOR Architects, as well as academics from Aalto University, have participated in the course.
The teaching team in the Architectural Design VI course is formed at the moment by Associate Professor Fernando Nieto (responsible professor), postdoctoral researcher and lecturer Rosana Rubio-Hernández and architects Maria Ahokas, Simon Kay-Jones, Teemu Paasiaho and Ville-Veikko Vilenius. A teaching portfolio to showcase a selection of some of the best architectural projects resulted from the course has been created. This portfolio with student works is yearly updated and gradually incorporates a few Master’s Theses carried out by students at the Public Building Design professorship too. The portfolio and more detailed information about the Architectural Design VI course can be visited at studionieto.