Call for Abstracts

10th Architectural Research Symposium in Finland 2018
October 26th-27th 2018
Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture
Otaniemi, Espoo, Finland

Global North – Global Challenges and Local Responses in Contemporary Architecture

Globalisation is the ongoing process that is linking people, neighbourhoods, cities, regions and countries much more closely together than they have ever been before. This has resulted in our lives being intertwined with people in all parts of the world via the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the music we listen to, the information we get and the ideas we hold. (Unesco Education)

The effects of globalisation have raised theoretical concerns around modern architecture since the late 1970s. The debate has concerned the rapid techno-scientific development and the universalization of lifestyles and values. This development has been seen to have a marring impact on the quality of architecture leaving little room for authenticity and originality in architectural production or architectural experience. Whether globalisation is approached as all-embracing eclecticism or as McDonaldization and the mind-numbing sameness of contemporary general culture, the task of architecture is framed to act as an artistic counter-force with the moral duty to oppose consumerism and commodification.

On the other hand, globalisation has also led to a new understanding of the abundance of cultures and an uncontrollable flux of resources and information. Here, the development has seen to set a welcomed challenge to the modernist monoculture – the idea of ‘one world, one truth’ in architecture – and increasing criticality towards cultural imperialism, male dominance and elitism embedded in the architecture profession as well as the guarded hierarchy in architectural production.

Welcome to the Aalto University Department of Architecture in October

The 10th Annual Symposium of Architectural Research 2018 (ATUT 2018) welcomes research papers in the field of architecture and urban design with regard to globalisation and its effects on architectural culture. Potential papers are encouraged to provide pragmatic case-studies of professional practice, design methods, urban planning and building projects or architectural interventions, introduce innovative research methods or experiments in architectural education, or offer re-readings from the history of architecture.

Researchers, students and practitioners are invited to the 10th Annual Symposium of Architectural Research in Finland, October 26th-27th 2018. This year the symposium is organized in Otaniemi, Espoo, by the Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Architecture, in collaboration with the Tampere University of Technology, Department of Architecture and the Oulu School of Architecture.

ATUT 2018 Tracks

The theme of the symposium aims to cover a variety of contemporary discussions in architectural research, from architectural design at all scales to the context of urban planning and development. Abstracts and papers are invited in the following thematic areas (but not restricted only to these):

  1. The Individual and Universal Humanity. What is architectural knowledge today and who has the power to decide what is important in architectural design? Is there a common ground for discussing architectural values? Is there room for individual artistic endeavours? How can we approach authenticity and originality in architectural production or architectural experience? Is there still something that can be called the universal language of architecture? How do the increasingly uniform architectural education and the borderless exchange of architectural ideas affect architectural values or our understanding of architecture?
  2. The Architect in the Global Market. The resulting theoretical debate has focused, for example, on new cosmopolitan tribalism that breaks away from pre-defined modes of working as an architect, the alternative ways of using the built environment or perceiving architecture as a service business rather than an art. Why are female architects and ethnic minorities almost absent in architectural historiography or performance reward systems? How are the power-structures and definitions of knowledge in architectural production, starchitecture and architectural branding or the new roles of the architect developing in the global market? What are the professional challenges of globalisation with regard to, for example, global commissions, international architecture media, global trade of materials and technology, and the free movement of capital and labour?
  3. Regionalism Revisited. How can local traditions, practices, modes of working, or other place-specific cultures enrich the art of architecture in the age of globalisation? What can we learn from non-standard ways of making architecture or the forgotten heroes, locally important architects, buildings and other architectural side-stories that are omitted from our current architectural discourse?
  4. Residing in urban environments. The transformation of our cities is driven by a variety of social, economic, environmental and cultural trends that challenge our understanding about housing and ways of living in neighbourhoods and residential environments of different densities. While the lack of affordable housing is widely discussed, cities also seek to create diverse and lively neighbourhoods attracting different types of residents, whose housing preferences may or may not have similarities. What does the future hold for us in a given environment? The topics under this theme could vary among the following: Housing and demographic trends; Lifestyles and ways of living, including multi-local working and living; Affordability; Accessibility and design for all; Sharing domestic/ home-related spaces; Housing preferences; Flexible housing concepts etc.
  5. Challenges and changing ideas focusing cultural heritage. How does “The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018” reflect on the field? Today, we can read more and more often that buildings and areas of cultural-historical significance are demolished or disfigured in order to achieve other objectives, valuable in themselves: energy efficiency, accessibility, urban densification, or changing work culture. In particular, the buildings and areas built between the 1960s and the 1980s are today threatened. How can we evaluate different kinds of sustainability, such as environmental, economic, social, and cultural sustainability? What kind of strategies and policies are needed to reconcile these different values? Does this require us to re-evaluate the principles of building restoration?
  6. Places and identities: Living in a world of change. Globalization, migration and multiculturalism as unavoidable features of contemporary reality and future are challenging the traditional national and local identities of places and people. Since total aesthetic or cultural control in a world of blurred boundaries is no longer an option, we need to reconsider our attitudes and ideologies towards diversity. For example, what will Finnish architecture look like in the future – or is there “Finnish” architecture any longer?
  7. Nordic Urban: What is special about being “Nordic” in contemporary urban planning? Are we now facing death or life of the Nordic town and well-fare state as a result of certain political decisions? How can the local solutions respond the global challenges in planning theory and practice? Today the rise of statistical and geo-referenced data and related surveys has provided planners with an abundance of information which is frequently relied upon as a basis for planning decisions. This development has, however, narrowed our view on knowledge. The hegemony of evidence-based knowledge is problematic, as planning is largely coping with yet unknown futures. The role of planners goes beyond making predictions and forecasts but lies in actively shaping and creating better futures. How can planners find creative and innovative ways and use their experiential tacit knowledge of tackling challenges associated with uncertainty while reflecting critically on the knowledge and assumptions planning decisions are based on? How can techniques such as visioning, scenario writing, storytelling as well as new interactive digital tools be increasingly used to describe and decide between different future development paths?
  8. Sustainable materials and methods. Growing environmental issues force to favour materials which are renewable or have low environmental impact. What is the role of architectural design, novel technologies and potential of nanomaterials when shaping visions for new environmentally friendly solutions? How these materials can be implemented and how do they suit the ambience and spatial experience of living environments? How can design research, such as material studies or material explorations, facilitate adoption of novel applications? How to introduce “closed loop” thinking or circular economy to material chains and design practices in architecture?
  9. Emergent Urban Natures: Environmental, societal, technological and economic challenges are resetting the agenda for the use, management and conceptualization of nature in cities. Green-blue infrastructures, Ecosystem Services, Nature-Based Solutions, Sustainable Urban metabolisms, etc. offer new ways of working with socio-ecological systems and sustainable urban planning. Conventional and unidirectional ways of design, planning and governance are questioned. We invite authors to reflect on how these emergent urban natures are influencing their work and/or research in this turning point.

Participation options

In order to support the academic education of doctoral students and to ensure the maximum scientific quality of the published papers, the Symposium will be held as a two-phase research event with the following participation options:

  1. Poster presentation (especially suitable for Works in Progress and practice-led research). Each accepted poster may use 3 presentation boards sized DIN A0 maximum. The posters will be on display at the Symposium and their abstracts will be included in the Symposium booklet.
  2. Oral presentation at the Symposium. Each accepted presentation will have a 20-minute slot in the Symposium programme. The abstracts of the presentations will be published in the Symposium booklet at the event.
  3. Full paper published after the Symposium. The full papers (max 8000 words) will be submitted to double-blinded scientific review. The accepted and revised full papers will be published in the Architectural Research in Finland (ARF) online journal via the Open Journal Systems (OJS) publishing platform.

The Symposium languages are Finnish and English.
Arkkitehtuurin tutkimuspäivien kielet ovat suomi ja englanti.

Symposium timetable

The deadline for all abstracts is 15 June 2018; extended to 30 June 2018.
The authors will be notified of their acceptance by 17 August 2018.
The deadline for final abstracts is 19 September 2018.
The deadline for full papers is 30 November 2018. The draft manuscripts are expected to be available for the session audience at the Symposium.

Abstract Guidelines

Please submit your abstracts by 30 June 2018. The Symposium management system is EasyChair ( at  .

The abstracts should have no more than 300 words and they should contain the following information:

  1. General information
    1. Title of the paper
    2. The track(s) that the author finds the most relevant to her/his topic
    3. The author’s preferred forms of participation: Poster presentation / Oral presentation / Full paper
    4. Author’s name, University / Organisation, email address
  2. Introduction to the topic: What is/are the research question(s)? Why has the study been undertaken? What is the hypothesis or the purpose of the research?
  3. Methods and/or the theoretical framework: How has the study been conducted? What literature, previously published theories or theoretical ideas does the study apply? What kind of data does the study use? How does the study test its hypothesis?
  4. Results / Analysis: What has the study discovered? How has the study responded to its research question(s)? Has the tested hypothesis proven true?
  5. Discussion: What is the relevance of the results? How do the results relate to our existing understanding of the subject? What questions does the study propose for future research?
  6. For poster proposals also: Description of how the author(s) intend to present the project in the poster format.

Please note that the Organising Committee will reserve the right to accept papers only as posters contrary to the author’s original preference.

Registration and Fees

Researchers, practitioners and doctoral students with or without contribution: 150 €.
Bachelor and Master Level Students: 50 €.

Further information about registration and payments will be announced later.