Finnish School Architecture in Focus

In September the Finnish Institute in London organised trip for a group of architects, education professionals and advisors from the UK to visit schools in Finland. The purpose was to look at the relationship between space and pedagogy rather than simply at the architecture itself.

The study visit was timed to coincide with a major exhibition of Finnish school architecture in Helsinki. Over the course of the three days the group visited several schools as well as the exhibition and met Finnish architects and educational experts. Before the trip the participants met at the Finnish Institute in London for discussion and background briefing about the Finnish school system.

Finland‘s school system is recognised by the OECD PISA survey as one of the 'best in the world'. The study tour was an opportunity to find out more about the system, the underlying educational philosophy and to see schools in action. Although there was a focus on design the group included a number of experts who were able to provide educational critique and help identify the aspects of the school environment that support the pedagogy and contribute to effective practice.

The visited schools were Strömberg School, Helsinki, Viikki Teacher Training School, Helsinki, Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School, Helsinki, Sakarinmäki School Sakarinmäki School, Sipoo, Keuda School, Sipoo,Kirkkojärvi School, Espoo and Hösmärinpuiston koulu, Espoo.

The visit was organised together with Reino Tapaninen, Chief Architect of the Finnish National Board of Education, Professor Trevor Harris, the Museum of Architecture in Helsinki and the schools that were visited.