Debate: 1970s architecture’s ideas and everyday life today

Location: Muualla

Date: Saturday 16 September 2023 from 13:00 to 17:00 – Helsinki Design Week 2023
Place: Vuosali, Vuotalo (Mosaiikkitori 2, Vuosaari, 00980 Helsinki)
Language: Finnish and English
Participation: free | pre-registration
The event will be streamed on the Helsinki Channel.

Debate: 1970s architectural ideas and everyday life today is a dialogue-based and participatory event where architecture, ideas and everyday life are discussed in the spirit of the 1970s debating culture. The event is organized in cooperation by Docomomo Suomi Finland Association, Finnish Architectural Review, Architectural Democracy collective and Vuotalo. 

The event is hosted by architect, D.Sc.(Arch), Professor of Practice in Humanitarian Architecture at Aalto University and the chairperson of the board of the Museum of Finnish Architecture Saija Hollmén.


Debate 1: The built heritage of the 1970s – a threat or an opportunity?

The built environment of the 1970s is currently relevant in many respects. The volume of construction was large in the 1970s, and the buildings of the era have largely entered the age of renovation. Due to the construction methods of the period, many of them have also reached the end of their technical life cycle.

This often leads to demolition or at least radical renovation measures, vertical enlargements and other reforms. Especially in growth centers, the pressure of supplementary construction and compaction threatens both individual buildings of the era and entire areas. There is also a wider problem with the valuation of 1970s built environment: they have a bad reputation. Because of reputational damage, demolition decisions can be made more lightly than in the case of a generally more prestigious building stock and milieu.

Is the bad reputation of the building stock of the 1970s deserved? Is the appreciation and protection of the built heritage of the period up to date? Does the development of the recyclability of construction parts incite the era’s construction stock to be dismantled under the guise of ecological sustainability? Among other things, Docomomo suomi Finland Association challenges the experts it has invited to a debate to consider these questions.

The language of the discussion is Finnish. The discussion is organized by Docomomo Suomi Finland Association and moderated by Petteri Kummala, a member of the association’s board and Deputy Head of Information Services and Research at the Museum of Finnish Architecture. Architect and researcher Kaisa Karvinen, architect Tapani Mustonen, post-doctoral researcher Jyrki Tarpio and researcher Juha Vuorinen will be discussing.

Debate 2: Architecture’s ideas and everyday life today in 2023

In 1974, Finnish Architectural Review magazine and the Society of Architecture organized a discussion event “Architecture’s ideas and everyday life”. At that time, the state of Finnish architecture was analyzed by, among others, Maija Kairamo, Juhani Pallasmaa, Timo Penttilä and Reima Pietilä. The participants agreed that the quality of architecture and the built environment in Finland had been steadily deteriorating, but the views on the causes and solutions to improve the situation varied.

The initiator of the event, Kirmo Mikkola, explained the development in terms of societal changes, the industrialization of construction, and the attitudes of the architectural community. Similar arguments are often heard in today’s discussions about architecture and urban planning. In his introduction, Mikkola also threw out the idea that, despite the rapid development of science and technology, history seemed to repeat itself.

So are we facing the same problems again as in the 1970s? And could solutions to today’s problems be found in the architecture and discussions of that time? Among other things, Finnish Architectural Review challenges the experts it has invited to a debate to consider these questions.

The language of the discussion is Finnish. The discussion is organized by Finnish Architectural Review magazine and moderated by the magazine’s editor-in-chief Kristo Vesikansa. Architects Selina Anttinen from Anttinen Oiva Architects, Matti Jänkälä from the You Tell Me collective and Antti Nousjoki from ALA Architects will be discussing.

Debate 3: We need to improve participatory urban planning!

Urban participatory strategies have experienced significant transformations over the past few decades. In the 1970s, public involvement in urban planning was in its early stages, primarily consisting of public hearings and community meetings. The aim was to collect feedback from community members, but these approaches often lacked genuine engagement and decision-making power.

Today, these strategies are more advanced and varied, using techniques like online surveys, social media campaigns, co-design workshops, and participatory budgeting. The goal is to foster a more collaborative and equitable process, where community members actively participate in decision-making. There is an increasing understanding that participation strategies should be tailored to specific communities, considering cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic factors. This results in more targeted and inclusive strategies that capture a wider range of voices and perspectives.

The evening debate’s final segment will ask participants to assess what they heard throughout the debate and contribute to a discussion about customizing participatory tools for particular projects. Through participation, attendees will develop a stronger perspective on the tools open to them. 

The language of the discussion is English. The discussion is organized by the Architectural Democracy collective and moderated by collective members Pedro Aibéo and Mark Linder. All the debaters of the previous two debates will be discussing with the audience.


Register for the event using this form no later than Tuesday, September 12, 2023:

A total of 200 participants can be admitted to the event. Please note that the registration is binding and personal: you can only make one registration for one person with one form. Successful submission of the form is a sign of successful registration. If you have to cancel your participation, please notify us by email to: Information about a possible cancellation is important so that we can give your place to the next person on the waiting list.

The event will be streamed on the Helsinki Channel. Follow the live broadcast here:


The event is open to everyone and free of charge. The event is organized in Finnish and English. Refreshments are available at the event. The event will be streamed in its entirety on the Helsinki channel, where it is possible to watch it in real time or as a recording afterwards for two weeks.

Vuotalo is physically accessible. You can find more information about Vuotalo’s accessibility here: (link opens in a new tab).

The Museum of Finnish Architecture is committed to the principles for a safer space in all museum activities. You can find more information about the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s principles for a safer space here: (link opens in a new tab).

For more information

Jemina Lindholm  
Manager of Learning and Public Programmes 
Museum of Finnish Architecture
+358 45 7731 0476