South Korean students learnt Finnish arts, design and architecture with TAMK

Group picture of students taken outside under a tree.
Students at Finlayson Art Area in 2019.

For the fourth year, TAMK has organised an online course for students of interior design at Chung-Ang University, South Korea. Since 2018, a group of 15-20 students from Chung-Ang University participates in the two-week summer course to learn about Nordic and especially Finnish architectural and interior design.

The course consists of lectures and workshops by TAMK senior lecturers and Finnish experts from the industry, as well as field visits to architectural and interior design companies and sites. The content differs slightly annually and thanks to the variation, students can apply to the course twice during their studies at Chung-Ang University and learn different aspects of Finnish architectural and interior design.

The journey of cooperation

The cooperation started in 2018 when a group of Chung-ang University students came to Tampere for a two-week tailor-made summer course of Finnish architectural and interior design. Due to positive feedback, two student groups applied for the course in 2019. One group applied in winter semester and the other one in summer semester. Unfortunately, the Finnish winter was not for everyone, so from 2019 the students come to Finland for the course only during summertime. Due to the pandemic situation, the course took a break in 2020. The three-week online summer course was organised in summer 2021 and again in August 2022.

History, architects and characteristics of Finnish architecture and design are introduced to the students along with Finnish culture.

Why Finnish art, architecture and design?

Students join this course for various reasons. Some students attend this course because they wanted to know more about other countries’ culture and architecture. Some are simply interested in knowing about Nordic and Finnish design and the culture behind it. One student expressed that she knew about Finland by reading Kalevala since she has been very interested in foreign mythology.

The students’ impressions on Finnish architecture and design

Several keywords can be concluded from the students’ impressions on Finnish architecture and design: unique, modern, sophisticated and minimalistic. It is also interesting for the students to learn about the relationship between a man and nature when understanding and appreciating Finnish design.

When comparing the Finnish architecture to Korean, the students think that the choice of color (vivid) and material (wood) are among the differences between Finnish and South Korean architecture and design.

When talking about the students’ favorite Finnish architects, several names were mentioned: Alvar Aalto, Juha Leiviska, Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren. The students appreciate Juha Leiviska for his use of light, they like Eliel Saarinen’s national romanticism style and they are impressed by details in Armas Lindgren’s works.

New pedagogical approach was appreciated

The students were satisfied with the Finnish pedagogical approach of the course, which is quite new for them. Moreover, their English and teamwork skills were improved during the three weeks. They were happy with both the content and quality of the course.

During the closing ceremony Dr. Carita Prokki, Director of Internationalisation and Business Operations congratulated the participants and gave them her best wishes. Hopefully next year the students could come to Finland and experience the beauty of Finnish architecture and design in person!


Read more: Chinese Students from Weihai Vocational College explored Finnish Art and Design


Text: Stella Yuxing Ikonen

Pictures: Stella Yuxing Ikonen