Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Students will develop:

  • Capabilities for problem reasoning
  • Expertise in planning and design assessment
  • Knowledge of societal and environmental responsibilities

Students will demonstrate:

  • Creative-thinking and judgment capability
  • Teamwork capability
  • Communications skills

Credits: 12

Schedule: 08.09.2020 - 01.12.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Antti Ahlava, Pia Fricker, Anssi Joutsiniemi

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Antti Ahlava, Pia Fricker

Contact information for the course (valid 11.08.2020-21.12.2112):

This is a collaboration course with Service Design master programme at Royal College of Art (London).

At Aalto University, students can take this course (12 study points) as either

• ARK-E0001 Special Project of Architecture, or

• USP-E0314 Capstone Project


Aalto University

Professor in charge: Antti Ahlava, Professor of Emergent Design Methodologies (Architecture), +358503241179

Jaana Tarma      

Karoliina Hartiala

Mengwei Wang (course assistant)



Nicolás Rebolledo

John Makepeace

Student assistants:

Yi-Tzu Chang

Kenjiro Taniguchi



CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The Capstone project brings together students from different backgrounds to work together in teams, contributing their respective expertise and skills to solve real-world challenges. It also provides the students with a realistic task related to the topical framework of the USP programme,  where projects usually span multiple disciplines and require team-based efforts to create a solution. The capstone project is supervised by the USP teaching team and sets focus on  supporting the students to learn in an environment that matches a real working environment. The set-up of the project is a tight integration between research and practice and can lead into a master thesis project. Capstone projects can be in close collaboration with cities, business partners or stakeholders, or can be initialised and set up through a student initiative. 

  • Applies in this implementation:


    This study course aims to provide students with a theoretical, methodological and practical grounding for progressive spatial development of urban spaces and urban design. The focus is on the emphatic understanding, conception and design of convivial outdoor environments and temporary uses, based on social sustainability. The course is cross-disciplinary, combining the ability of service design to outline user-based environments with the architectural design of  neglected urban areas with development potential for human-based milieus. 

    Aalto University aims to realise the transformation of Otakaari road into a street during the forthcoming years. The university sees the campus as a living lab – a public innovation laboratory.

    The aim of this project is to design services  that can serve as platforms for co-creating value with the partners of the university,  opening the AAlto campus to the city and turning a road into a lively street and community.

    There lays a potential for a new business model for services to be placed in the temporary spaces of our site. Some of these services may be related to wellbeing, partnering and public events.

    At RCA, the learning objectives are to bring service design to life through an end to end design strategy, value proposition and touchpoint definition. This mean to develop a service proposition going through all the stages of service design: from discovering  a problem, defining a strategy, developing a service / value proposition and prototyping, testing and refining its key components, mechanisms or touchpoints. Platformisation will be the overall topic for this RCA course.

     A larger theme behind this endeavour is to correct the legacy of modernist traffic planningin a city environment. As in numerous other modernist urban areas, also in Aalto University campus in Otaniemi, Espoo – our design site –  there are no streets - just roads. The question is how to turn a road into a lively street with new amenities, which will enliven the place and increase the wellbeing of the people of the area. Another theme is adaptive regeneration. We will be operating in a place with iconic architectural heritage ­– Alvar Aalto’s architecture. How to add new functions and structures next to a protected building? 

    Aalto University sees the campus as a living lab – a public innovation laboratory.

    The university aims to realise the transformation of Otakaari road into a street during the forthcoming years. 

    The aim of this course is not only to develop preparatory material for areas and spaces to be renewed, but to think this task also as a prototype for co-creating value with the partners of the university. A street could be seen as a platform for services and experiences. There lays a potential for a new business model for services to be placed in the temporary spaces of our site. Some of these services may be related to wellbeing, partnering and public events.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Varies according to topic.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Group work 40% (including the quality of collaborating)

    Individual work 60%



  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    5-12 ECTS (approx. 27 working hours = 1 ECTS)

  • Applies in this implementation:

    12 study points (12 x 27h = 324h)

    You should participate at least 80% of the tutorials every week and the workshop + with a valid reason for not to be present (illness, military service, jail etc…). On weeks with two tutoring sessions you can select just one, except the workshop week (week 40). Please note, that changes to this timetable are possible. Please arrive to tutorials when they start and write your name to the tutoring list during the first 15 minutes. All Aalto teaching takes place in Väre unless otherwise mentioned. Due to the university regulations, there can be maximum 20 people in one space at one time throughout the study course. 

    AU and RCA students have weekly remote touchpoint on every Thursday within the group on 30 Sept. – 20 Oct using digital tools including Miro, G Suit, Zoom and/or Trello for collaboration.




Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Varies in accordance with the topic of the period - provided during the studio on the announced web portal. 

  • Applies in this implementation:



    • Maps & geospatial data, incl. 3D buildings:
    • Aalto University campus:
    • Aalto University Aalto Studios project – present-day designs
    • Combined ‘Nolli’ style groundfloor plans with site plan available:
    • City plans and explanations
    • Combined city plan explained in English
    • Images – a compilation of photos on the area and its buildings


    • LSE Cities research on high streets in the UK:
    • Camden Pop-Up Think & Do:
    • Human Cities project:
    • Jan Gehl: Time to reclaim the streets:
    • Jan Gehl: Ihmisten kaupunki
    • Living Future Institute: Strategies for Living Neighbourhoods:

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Advanced studies in Urban Studies and Planning, intended for the 2nd year of USP programme.

Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


    Minimum amount of students: 6

  • Applies in this implementation:


SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    13 Climate Action

    15 Life on Land


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:


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