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Architecture Students' Work Displayed at Finnish Embassy

June 10, 2008

Last summer, architecture Visiting Architecture Professor Brad Bell led fourteen students—seven from the University of Texas Arlington, along with seven students from two other U.S. universities –- to Helsinki, Finland. The students’ journal entries, photographs and drawings from the trip formed part of an exhibition at the Heikkenen and Komonen Finnish Embassy in Washington, D.C. this spring. The exhibition—a joint work of Professors Scott Wall, University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Jari Jetsonen, Finnish architectural photographer; Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen, Finnish architectural historian; and Professor Brad Bell—was on display April 24 through June 8, 2008.

The abroad program in Finland focused on the role of architecture within the Finnish national cultural identity. In order to learn about Finnish architecture, students spent a great deal of time examining Finnish culture, history and tradition. The summer coursework focused on developing an understanding of architecture through studies of Finnish culture and its impact on design culture, with particular emphasis on the work of two of the most celebrated architects of the early modern era in Finland – Erik Bryggmann and Alvar Aalto. Courses were conducted from the facilities on Alvar Aalto’s Otaniemi campus of the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK). Extended field trips to southwestern Finland, Stockholm, Sweden, and St. Petersburg, Russia, and related exercises exposed students to other areas and aspects of Finland and the Baltic region. Professor Scott Wall from the University of Tennessee Knoxville started the Finland abroad program as an associate professor at Tulane University in New Orleans in 2003. Professor Brad Bell joined the program as assistant director in 2004 and continues in that capacity through UT Arlington. The exhibition included work from students participating in the program from the past five years. Professor Bell and a group of seven UT Arlington students will return to Finland this summer.