The Museum of Finnish Architecture looks for hope in wood – New exhibitions opening to the public

The Museum of Finnish Architecture’s main exhibition this autumn and winter, Hope from Wood (10.9.2021–10.4.2022), looks at wooden architecture from the perspective of the hope it inspires. The multi-voiced and multi-faceted exhibition brings together an interesting group of contributors addressing the exhibition theme in the form of, for instance, love letters, videos and music. The time span extends from the early achievements of wood construction to the architecture of the future produced by artificial intelligence. In the era of climate crisis, much is expected from wood. One building material hardly solves all the challenges of building construction, but it is the spark that hopefully ignites a debate about major change.

In Finland there are more than 800 places with the name “Toivola” (toivo = hope) – villages, farms and houses, most of which are built in wood. Preserving the existing building stock is an expression of love for the built heritage, but also of climate wisdom. The exhibition looks for inspiration for contemporary construction from the treasure trove of the past, as well as answers to the questions of what and whose hope has been placed in wood at different times in history. The love letters to the built heritage featured in the exhibition that are written in different parts of Finland provide a tangible example of how people and communities have become attached to the old building stock and are committed to its preservation.

Over the last decade, wood has begun to appear more often among the prize-winners in architectural competitions as well as other award ceremonies in the building profession. Several wood-clad landmark buildings have been built in the capital of our forest-covered nation. New types of wood construction have spread throughout the country in the form of schools and day-care centres. Hopefully the construction of wooden apartment buildings will increase, but a chasm still exists between hope and reality. The exhibition asks why this is the case.

As the climate crisis deepens, wood is being shouldered with the role of saviour, as the use of wood reduces the carbon footprint in building construction. A single material, however, cannot solve all the challenges we face. The exhibition highlights how architects, as well as the entire construction industry, can have a say in what kind of future we are heading for.

The future is explored in the exhibition in diverse ways. What, for example, could be a song for the architecture of the future? What kind of wood construction do architecture students hope to realise? And what kind of dream does artificial intelligence have about tomorrow’s wooden architecture?

“Our relationship with wood is ancient. Many different kinds of hope have been stored in wood over the centuries. I find this hugely inspiring. As a curator, I am interested in what this hope has been like at different times. Whose hope is it? What kind of fears lie behind hope? Hope from Wood is an extensive and multi-sensory exhibition. It invites us on a journey, where the past, present and future of wood construction overlap in a polyphonic way,” says Minna Joenniemi, the curator of the exhibition

Hope from Wood has been curated by cultural journalist Minna Joenniemi. The exhibition has been implemented with the support of the Ministry of the Environment’s Wood Building Programme. The exhibition is open at the Museum of Finnish Architecture 10.9.2021–10.4.2022.

Participants in the production of the exhibition:

Aalto University Wood Program students 2020–2021. Mikko Aaltonen. Tytti Arola. Antti Auvinen. Finnish Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, Netta Böök. Gretel Hemgård. Reetta Karhunkorva ja Johanna Lehto-Vahtera, Finnish Forest Museum Lusto. Riikka Karjalainen,Re-thinking Urban Housing project. Tommi Kinnunen. Matti Johannes Koivu. Olavi Koponen. Olli-Paavo Koponen. Teemu Kurkela. Pia Kuurma and Pelastetaan vanhat talot! [Saving Old Houses] Facebook Group. Marko Lamberg, Human, Time, Landscape Project. Anssi Lassila. Lars-Erik Mattila. Anne Mustarastas ja Saara Salmi. Joar Nango. Petter Nissinen. Tuula Närhinen. Juhani Pallasmaa. Sofie Pelsmakers. Janne Pihlajaniemi and Architecture students at the University of Oulu. Classes 5A and 5B of the Pudasjärvi Log Campus. Muistot eivät pala [Memories do not burn] choir drama, Virpi Suutari. Renovation Centre Toivo. Wood for Good research group. 

For more information and to download press images, please contact

Ilona Hildén  
Communications Planner, Museum of Finnish Architecture
+358 45 7731 0468  

Marja Rautaharju,  
Head of Exhibitions, Services and Concepts, Museum of Finnish Architecture
+358 46 9200 175 

Press release published on the 25th of August 2021