EXHIBITION: THE BEST SCHOOL IN THE WORLD

Exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture
8 June – 25 September 2011
 
Finnish students are top performers in the OECD’s PISA studies, but what’s the secret to the success of the Finnish education system? The MFA explores this question from an architectural perspective: In what type of environments does learning take place today, and what kind of physical settings are the most conducive to successful learning? The exhibition examines how contemporary school architecture addresses the varied needs of today’s learners and multiform teaching methods.
 
The core part of the exhibition looks at school architecture from the 2000s, an abridged version of which featured at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in autumn 2010. The seven schools presented in detail offer a varied sample of functional and architectural solutions.
 
Schools from 1900 to the 1970s are presented with original drawings from the museum’s collections and texts providing a decade-by-decade historical overview. Also featured is a textual summary of the Finnish school system from its inception to modern times. Schools from the 20th and 21st centuries are additionally illustrated with slide shows, which also provide a sneak preview of new schools that are currently under planning
or construction.
 
The seven highlighted schools
Strömberg School, Helsinki, 2001. Kari Järvinen and Merja Nieminen Architects SAFA
Viikki Teacher Training School, Helsinki, 2004. ARK-House Architects
Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School, Helsinki, 2005. Häkli Architects
Sakarinmäki School and Day Nursery, Helsinki, 2006. FLN Architects
Comprehensive School in Joensuu, 2007. Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects
Enter Upper Secondary School and Vocational College, Sipoo, 2007. K2S Architects
Kirkkojärvi School, Espoo, 2010. Verstas Architects
 
The exhibition is produced by the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
 
Exhibition catalogue
The exhibition’s 80-page English-language catalogue is designed especially for international audiences. Featuring a rich accompaniment of visual material, The Best School in the World: Seven Finnish Examples from the 21st Century includes three expert essays and a detailed presentation of the schools. Architect Kaisa Nuikkinen discusses the various challenges of designing a school in her article Learning Spaces: How They Meet Evolving Educational Needs. Finland’s PISA performance is the main focus of Educational Progress in Finland and What We Can Learn from It, an expert article contributed by Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of the Finnish Centre for International Mobility (CIMO). Sirkka-Liisa Jetsonen, an architect at the National Board of Antiquities, provides an historical outline of the Finnish education system and its buildings in her article Setting the Scene for Learning.
Available for €20 at the museum bookshop.
Browse the publication
 
On the web
An expanded package of information about the history of Finnish school architecture is available on the web.
Please visit our website: www.mfa.fi/finnishschoolarchitecture
 
Upcoming events
The museum will organise guided tours of schools in the Helsinki metropolitan area which are featured in the exhibition. Other upcoming events will include lectures, discussion panels and tailored workshops for school groups. For details on the August-September events calendar, please visit the museum’s website or Facebook. If you wish to sign up for our emailing list, please send your details to Hanna Galtat forename.surname@mfa.fi.
 
Guided tours
Weekdays €60, weekends €80 + admission €5/€2.50/€0.
Maximum 25 participants per tour.
Please book in advance: tel. +358 (0)9 8567 5100.
 
For further information
Information Officer Hanna Galtat, tel. +358 (0)9 8567 5111, forename.surname@mfa.fi
 
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Enter Upper secondary School and Vocational College
Sipoo 2007
K2S Architects Ltd
Photo: Marko Huttunen
Joensuu Lyceum
Joensuu, 2007
Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects
Photo: Jussi Tiainen
Hiidenkivi School
Helsinki, 2005
Häkli Architects
Photo: Jussi Tiainen
Tampere Finnish Girlsʼ School, gym, 1899-1902
Architect Wivi Lönn
Photo: MFA