Topic outline

  • Welcome to the new course space!

    The Architectural Principles and Theory studio course in autumn 2020 The Eye and the Icon examines the portrayal of architecture through photography. The studio studies the role architectural photography plays in defining how we interpret the building, how we perceive its meaning, and what aspects we attach to its character. The studio encourages critical thinking towards the relationship between architecture and media and questions whether our constant exposure to the canonised portrayal of buildings affects our capacity to create a fundamentally individual relationship with architecture. When looking at buildings, do we really look at architecture or are we just looking for evidence of the images we have already encountered in the media? 

    The students work with a pre-selected list of buildings in the Helsinki metropolitan area dating from 1980s–2000s (1 building / student). The studio work will begin with exploring original presentation material and publications available at the Museum of Finnish Architecture archives. The students will then make a new visual interpretation of their building and write an accompanying theoretical explanation for their viewpoint. The studio will result in an exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture in December 2020 – January 2021.


    TASK 1 – Visual presentation of your given building, how it is interpreted and related to the ideals of the time period 

    TASK 2 – Your interpretation of the given building & ideas on how it could be shown in the final exhibition 

    TASK 3 – Visual final presentation for the exhibition 


    Four learning logs are written during the course, every log has a theme that is related to the course. The learning logs are reflective, personal texts, visual material such as sketches and photos may be added. All sources should be mentioned. The logs should be put into MyCourses by the given deadline. Length of each text 3000-5000 characters including spaces.

    LEARNING LOG 1 – Essay on the given building and the images of it, analysing how it is originally presented.

    LEARNING LOG 2 – Essay on the role of the image based on the given readings Further information on MyCourses assignment.

    LEARNING LOG 3 – Essay on your interpretation of the building (a  shortened version of this text will be curated for the exhibition). Further information on MyCourses assignment.

    LEARNING LOG 4 – Your impression of the course and what you have learnt 


    MONDAY 7.9 / Museum of Finnish Architecture (MFA), Kasarmikatu 24, Helsinki

    Presentation of the course (Jenni Reuter, Aalto University) 

    Presentation of all participants + why did I choose this course 

    Giving the visual task (Jenni) 

    Media communication (Ilona Hildén and Jemina Lindholm), MFA Communication plan

    Presentation of the case studies (Petteri Kummala, MFA) 

    Introduction to the exhibition space and the exhibition design (Tuomas Siitonen (Aalto University)) 

    Introduction to the reading and writing tasks (Anni Vartola, Aalto University) 

    Introduction to the use of the MFA Archives (Anna Autio) 

    Introduction to the use of the MFA Library (Suvi Juvonen) 

    Giving the case study buildings to the students 

    MONDAY 14.9 / ZOOM

    Presentations of the buildings by the students (10 min/student, depending on amount of students) 

    Discussions on the theme 


    Deadline for Learning log 1 in Mycourses 

    MONDAY 21.9 / MFA

    Presentations by the students of Task 1 (10 min/student, depending on amount of students) 

    Discussion on Task 1 and Learning log 1 

    Present from the MFA Petteri Kummala and Marja Rautaharju, from Aalto University Jenni Reuter, Tuomas Siitonen and Anni Vartola. 


    Deadline for Learning Log 2 in Mycourses 

    MONDAY 28.9 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Tuomas Uusheimo ”Photographing architecture” 

    Discussions on Task 2, comments by Tuomas Uusheimo 

    FRIDAY 2.10 starting at 15.30 (meeting 15.20) 

    Visit to the K1 Gallery (part of the Finnish Museum of Photography), Pohjoisesplanadi 33 (in the Kämp Gallery), under the guidance of Jemina Lindholm and Kaura Raudaskoski (theme Queer+Crip)

    MONDAY 5.10 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Mika Savela “On Offness – Image Strategies in the Post-Archive” 

    Discussions on Learning log 2 (possibly also Task 2) with Anni Vartola and Mika Savela 

    MONDAY 12.10 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Marc Goodwin “Archmospheres: architectural atmospheres.” 

    Discussion on Task 2 


    Presentations by the students of Task 2 

    MONDAY 26.10 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Tuomas Siitonen “On exhibition design” 

    Discussions and decisions on the final exhibition format and Task 3 

    MONDAY 2.11 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Juha Ilonen 

    ”Both Sides Now: Portraying a Community of Individuals of Urban Helsinki Architecture” 

    Discussions on Task 3 

    MONDAY 9.11 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Marjaana Kella ”Photography changes everything: Photographicality in contemporary art – and in my own practice.” 

    Discussions on Task 3 

    MONDAY 16.11 / ZOOM

    Lecture by Harri Laakso, ”On the architecture of contemporary photography” 

    Discussions on Task 3 


    Deadline for Learning log 3 in Mycourses 

    MONDAY 23.11 / ZOOM

    Finalising Task 3 

    Discussion and peer reviews on Learning log 3, Anni Vartola facilitator 


    Deadline for the exhibition text in Mycourses 

    MONDAY 30.11 / MFA

    Deadline for Task 3, printing material etc.

    MONDAY 7.12 / MFA

    Finalising the exhibition 

    THURSDAY 10.12  / ZOOM


    Opening of the exhibition at MFA. Final Critique with invited experts Pyry Kantonen and Mika Savela. 


    Deadline for Learning log 4 in Mycourses