6 / 2018 - digital, UU AA 6

The ever-expanding digitalisation keeps changing our everyday lives. What kind of consequences does it have for architecture? The last issue of 2018 focuses on the developing digital reality and its effects on the architectural practice and discussions within. Digital technology has for long been an integral part of architectural design tools and documentation of environments. Today the impacts are more widespread. Digitality affects the production of building parts, enabling more specialised processes at the price of standard ones. Digital and global communication channels affect also the distribution of thoughts and projecting views in architecture.

The issue delves into different phenomena concerning architecture and the digital. The articles discuss, for instance, data as a tool for urban planning, the relationship between virtual reality and architecture as well as the need for conceptual updates within the architectural discipline following the digitalisation of our everyday environments and public space.

The issue also introduces new Väre building for Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Otaniemi, Espoo, as well as the new premises of Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) in Tallinn.

The UU AA project exploring the new form of Arkkitehti throughout 2018 comes to an end with introducing a new font, paving way for the publication’s visual renewal in 2019.


architects Ateljé Sotamaa
address Eteläranta 16, Helsinki
gross area 350 m2
completion 2018
original building C. L. Engel 1820 (The Sundman House)

photos Nico Backström
commentary Mika Savela

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, A Bloc shopping centre
architects Jussi Palva, Väinö Nikkilä, Riina Palva, Ilkka Salminen
address Otaniementie 14, Espoo
gross area 45 400 m2
completion 2018

photos Andreas Meichsner, Tuomas Uusheimo
commentary Pentti Kareoja

If you had had to describe a 3D printer to your grandparents in just a couple of words when they were young, which words would you have used? Of course, you could not have used today’s terminology or outlined the operating principles of the technology. You might have said, for example, that the printer is a building machine, modelling robot or design device.

Let’s assume that you told them that, in a few decades’ time, people will have come up with this amazing building machine that can construct anything from plastic prostheses to chocolate cakes and cement igloos all by itself. Their response would probably have been along the lines that the mere thought seems absurd.

So, if I now told you that, in 15 years’ time, the average construction time of a single-family house will be 2–3 weeks, our windows will function as solar panels, our buildings will be built from self-repairing materials and that nanotechnological breakthroughs will have enabled us to replace iron and steel with new, perhaps recycled building materials, what would your response be?

The future is always a surprise. While the world around us is changing more rapidly than ever, the regeneration processes in the fields of construction and urban planning proceed at a snail’s pace. A house cannot be rebuilt from the ground up every five years or even updated once a year.

New technologies and smart systems are infiltrating our homes – at least the new ones. The question is, how can we design homes and living environments for a future that we struggle to even imagine at this point in time? In terms of technological advances, 10 years is an eternity, but a 10-year-old house is still young.

I place my faith in designers, architects and urban planners. One thing for which a person living in the future would thank those of us living in today’s world might be an appreciation of good design. In times of upheaval, there are not a lot of things to count on, but I believe that good design is something that can carry across the ages.

For me personally, design denotes the synergy of utility, feeling and value. Technology can only take us so far by creating possibilities, but design is what will really change the world. Solar cell windows, self-repairing materials and robotic construction sites may be hard to conceive, but, in the words of technologist, designer and investor John Maeda, art asks questions, technology creates opportunities, and design provides solutions. Let’s make sure that we build upon utility, feeling and value to bring about a future that will be a pleasant surprise to us all. ark

Perttu Pölönen is an inventor, futurist and composer. This year, MIT Tech Review nominated him as one of the 35 most promising innovators in Europe.

Näköislehti: Site Logic