Finland: Architecture and Design 2022

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13 Sep – 26 Sep 2022

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Finland: Architecture and Design 2022
Tour Highlights

With architecture and design writer Stephen Crafti, explore the very best of Finland’s modernist and contemporary art, architecture, furniture and fashion in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki and Turku.

  • Begin in Finland’s capital, Helsinki visiting the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
  • Accompanied by an architect, discover Helsinki’s rich architectural history; visit Eliel Saarinen’s Central Station, the Chapel of SilenceOodi – the new Helsinki Central Public Library, and the famous Finlandia Hall.
  • Experience a private visit of the multi-award winning Amos Rex Art Museum, accompanied by project mastermind Asmo Jaaksi, JKMM Architects.
  • Meet with Tuuli Sotamaa in her renowned design studio Ateljé Sotamaa.
  • Tours of the Artek Flagship store and the Aalto House and Studio introduce us to Alvar Aalto, Finland’s most famous architect of the 20th century.
  • At Marimekko Outlet, see some examples of world-renowned Marimekko prints.
  • Tour the private showroom of Marita Huurinainen, famous for her ‘wave shoes’.
  • Meet new artists at the Design Lab at the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre.
  • View contemporary art at Didrichsen Art Museum, a seaside villa designed by Alvar Aalto’s assistant, Viljo Revell.
  • Meet designer Harri Koskinen and learn about his internationally renowned range of products.
  • Travel through Finnish forests to Lahti to view its wooden architecture and understand more about the relationship Finns share with wood; in Haltia, tour the award-winning Finnish Nature Centre.
  • Visit the Alvar Aalto’s town hall at Säynätsalo, and his experimental house at Muuratsalo. In Seinäjoki, tour the striking Aalto Centre, view his Sanatorium at Paimio and, by special arrangement, see the world-famous Villa Mairea in Noormarkku.
  • Visit Sibelius’ turn-of-the-century villa at Ainola, and Villa Hvitträsk, Saarinen’s home and studio.
  • Enjoy a private tour of an award-winning minimalist seaside residence, “Summer Villas”, designed by architect and mastermind Renni Haroma, Haroma & Partners
  • Relax in Löyly Sauna, with an exclusive visit with head designers Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen (Avanto Architects). Enjoy an optional ‘Löyly’ (meaning steam enveloping) experience.
  • By special arrangement, visit the private studio home of designer Yrjö Kukkapuro: Studio Kukkapuro.
  • Dine at the Savoy, the 80-year-old museum-like restaurant which bears the hallmark of Alvar Aalto and his then newly-founded furniture design brand Artek, looking over the rooftops of Helsinki.
  • Enjoy Farewell Dinner at Finnjävel, designed by Ateljé Sotamaa, the architects behind the Finnish Pavilion in World Expo 2017.

Overnight Helsinki (6 nights) • Jyväskylä (2 nights) • Seinäjoki (1 night) • Turku (2 nights) • Helsinki (2 nights)

Informal Professional Development for Architects

Practising architects who travelled on this program in past years qualified for Informal Professional Development points. The tour program includes over 10 hours of on-site learning delivered by qualified architects. Please refer to the daily schedule for the description of the sites visited. For details about the Continuing Professional Development point requirements please refer to the Australian Institute of Architects website: www.architecture.com.au


I loved that we met contemporary designers and architects. Stephen & Naomi related to them beautifully – warm, friendly, knowledgeable….All the sites we visited were extraordinary. Such a privilege to be able to have access to some of the private buildings such as Villa Mairea, and the summer houses designed by Renni Haroma. Lois, VIC.

Stephen and Naomi provided us with a stimulating and entertaining tour full of variety. Jo, VIC.



The following itinerary lists a range of museums, galleries, buildings and design projects which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission, which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in museum opening hours and privately hosted visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch, and D=dinner

Helsinki - 6 nights

Day 1: Tuesday 13 September, Arrive Helsinki
  • Tour commences at 5.00pm in the foyer of the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna
  • Welcome Meeting
  • Orientation Walk
  • Welcome Drinks at Palace Terrace Bar

Meeting Point: The tour commences at 5.00pm in the foyer of  the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna located next to the Helsinki Central Station.

We begin with a short welcome meeting, and then proceed with a short orientation walk followed by welcome drinks. (Overnight Helsinki)

Day 2: Wednesday 14 September, Helsinki
  • Architecture walking tour of Helsinki
  • Finlandia Hall
  • Design Museum
  • Ateljé Sotamaa architecture firm: meet the architects
  • Welcome Dinner at Savoy Restaurant

Led by a local architect, we begin our day with a walking tour of cutting-edge Helsinki architecture. It includes visits to Kamppi (the Chapel of Silence) with its curved shape, the Temppeliaukion Church, the famous ‘Rock Church’ designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in 1968 and 1969, the state-of-the-art music venue Musiikkitalo, and Oodi – the new Helsinki Central Public Library.

We are introduced to the life and work of the grandfather of Finnish architecture and design, Alvar Aalto. This iconic Finn served in the Finnish Civil war in 1918 whilst in the midst of his architecture studies. In the early 1920s, he began his architecture career, following the styles of classicism and functionalism. He then went through an experimental period and began designing building interiors. He became increasingly successful, inventing the widely used three-legged stool, and introducing the patented bent wood manufacturing process. Aalto’s designs include libraries in Russia, theatres in Germany and churches in Italy.  Later in his career he was commissioned for key projects in Helsinki such as Finlandia Hall, a key landmark that we visit this morning. Constructed in 1971, the congress and events centre is a modernist building featuring a tower with a high empty space for better acoustics (hidden from guests by a latticed ceiling). The interior of the building is a tribute to Aalto’s attention to detail. 

We travel by public transport to reach the Design Museum, which presents the development of Finnish design from the late 19th century to today. It showcases the biggest names of Finnish design, from Akseli Gallen-Gallela and Alvar Aalto to Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva. The permanent exhibition dates back to the 1870s and looks at craft, fashion, furniture design and industrial design. The museum was founded in 1873 as a study collection for the Helsinki Arts and Crafts School and has operated in its current premises since 1978.

We then visit the Ateljé Sotamaa Studio and meet with award-winning architect Tuuli Sotamaa. The studio, formed by brother and sister team Kivi and Tuuli Sotamaa, focuses on creating emotionally appealing objects and holistic architectural environments.

Tonight, we enjoy a welcome meal at the Savoy Restaurant, the 80-year-old museum-like restaurant which bears the hallmark of Alvar Aalto and his then newly-founded design brand Artek, looking over the rooftops of Helsinki. The restaurant’s best-known interior design detail is the Savoy Vase – the famous undulating vase whose first models were created in 1936 – designed by Alvar and his wife Aino Aalto. (Overnight Helsinki) BD

Day 3: Thursday 15 September, Helsinki
  • Harri Koskinen Studio – Friends of Industry
  • Marimekko Outlet: see some examples of world class print-designs
  • Lunch at newly refurbished Maritori Restaurant
  • Ivana Helsinki House: guided tour with house host
  • Iittala & Arabia Design Centre and Design Lab: meet artists
  • Amos Rex Art Museum with architect Asmo Jaaksi, JKMM Architects

Today we meet Harri Koskinen, who established his design studio, Friends of Industry Ltd. in Helsinki in 1998. In his work Koskinen focuses mainly on product design, though his studio also offers concept design and exhibition architecture. Koskinen’s impressive list of clients includes companies such as Artek, Design House Stockholm, Iittala, Magis, Issey Miyake, Montina, Muji, Panasonic, Seiko Instruments, Swarovski and Venini. In 2004, he received the Italian Compasso d’Oro Award for the Muu chair designed for Montina. Koskinen’s works have been presented in numerous exhibitions all over the world. His Block lamp for Design House Stockholm (1996) is included in the collection of MoMA. He also has works in the permanent collections of the Design Museum in Helsinki and in the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. Koskinen’s recent productions include an incense holder for Lisn, OMA tableware for Arabia and men’s underwear for Black Horse.

We continue our exploration of Finnish design with a visit to the Marimekko Outlet, to see the world class Marimekko print-designed clothes, textiles and interior design pieces. Following our visit to the Marimekko Outlet, we have lunch at the newly refurbished Maritori Restaurant.

Next, we visit Ivana Helsinki Studio. Paola Ivana Suhonen is the Helsinki born designer, artist and film-maker behind the independent fashion and cinema brand Ivana Helsinki. Her brand is the only Scandinavian womenswear collection to be accepted into the official Paris Fashion Week “IN” Show calendar and has been featured in several alternative projects where fashion, design and modern art have been combined. We are introduced to the brand and the Ivana Helsinki House by the house host.

In the surrounding area, we observe the participatory architectural planning in residential suburb of Arabianranta. Literally ‘the coast or shoreline of Arabia’, this extraordinary old mixed industrial and residential precinct gained its name long before the Arabia ceramics factory, the largest ceramics centre in Europe, was built there. The name Arabia, or rather, ‘Arabian ja Kaanaan maa’ (the land of Arabia and Canaan) is already found in 18th-century documents whereas the Arabia factory was not founded until 1871.

Nowadays, Arabianranta is undergoing a fascinating revival in which ultra-modern development contrasts to older industrial plant style. It is fundamentally a place of contrasts: ‘old and new’, ‘nature and urbanity’, ‘industry and residence’, ‘work and peace’, ‘art and technology’. Arabianranta is home to 10,000 people, a workplace for 5000 and a campus for 6000 students and professionals. The highlight of our exploration is a visit to Iittala & Arabia Design Centre, Finland’s most celebrated design and lifestyle brands, Iittala and Arabia. In their Design Lab Centre, we meet new artists in residence.

For our last visit of the day, we return the centre of Helsinki to visit Amos Rex, a multi-award winning art museum by architecture firm JKMM. We are accompanied for the visit by architect Asmo Jaaksi, the mastermind of the project. Amos Rex, formerly known as Amos Anderson Art Museum, brings contemporary architecture to the modernist Lasipalatsi (Glass Palace), a functionalistic building designed in 1938 by then architecture students Viljo Revell, Niilo Kokko and Heimo Riihimäki. Originally it was only built to be a temporary building, but later became an icon of functionalist architecture. It was recently renovated to revive its original lustre. Opened in autumn 2018, Amos Rex is now a meeting place for art and urban culture, consisting of an art museum within its underground exhibition spaces, the meticulously renovated Lasipalatsi and its cinema Bio Rex, as well as a vibrant event forum on Lasipalatsi Square, which serves as the roof of the exhibition hall (Overnight Helsinki) BL

Day 4: Friday 16 September, Helsinki
  • Architecture walking tour of Helsinki
  • Marita Huurinainen Showroom
  • Lunch at Dylan Marmoripiha Restaurant in the Rautalo building
  • Artek Flagship Store
  • Artek 2nd Cycle

We begin the day with another walking tour of Helsinki, with an emphasis on Art Nouveau and Neo-classical architecture. We stop first to visit Helsinki Main Railway Station built by Eliel Saarinen, between 1903 and 1919. We then walk to Pohjola Insurance Building; this Art Nouveau building was designed by Eliel Saarinen and built in 1901 by Gesellius, Lindgren and Saarine.

The Neo-classical Senate Square in Helsinki is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful urban squares in the world. In the heart of Helsinki, one can still feel the presence of both Russia and Sweden – and that of Europe, along the lush, lively Esplanade Park with its neo-renaissance palaces and cafés. Then we visit Akateminen Bookstore, the Academic Bookstore, the masterpiece designed by the renowned Alvar Aalto in 1969.

At the end of our tour, we meet with designer Marita Huurinainen at her showroom, which features modern wooden clogs, evening wear and other creations. Of particular fame is her award-winning ‘wave shoe’, innovatively designed to be flexible to walk in, even though it is made from wood.

We enjoy lunch at Dylan Marmoripiha, located in the historic Rautatalo building designed by Alvar Aalto.

We then visit the Artek Flagship Store. When Artek first opened in 1935, it mainly sold furniture designed by two of its cofounders, the architect and designer couple Alvar Aalto and his wife, Aino. It still sells classic Aalto, but also stocks the works of other famous Finnish and international designers.

We finish the day with a short walk to Artek 2nd Cycle, a shop featuring a vintage collection of Alvar Aalto furniture as well as other Finnish and international brands. (Overnight Helsinki) BL

Day 5: Saturday 17 September, Helsinki
  • The Aalto House and Studio: guided tour
  • Museum of Finnish Architecture: guided tour
  • Iittala Flagship Store
  • Löyly Sauna: architectural visit with Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen, Avanto Architects, optional sauna visit and view from the terraces

We commence with a visit of the Family Home and Office designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto in 1934-36. The building presents a severe façade to the street, hiding an interior that experiments with the ‘Romantic Functionalist Style’ that Aalto fully developed in the later Villa Mairea. Nearby we visit Aalto’s studio of 1955, which is often considered one of his finest buildings from the ’50s.

We then visit the Museum of Finnish Architecture, whose huge collection consists of 85,000 black-and-white photographs, 30,000 slides, 500,000 original drawings, copies of drawings, documents and models. Our visit here provides an excellent overview of Finnish 20th-century architecture. Next we explore the Iittala Flagship Store, designed by Kaj Franck, which has served generations of Iittala customers since it first opened in the 1950s. The historic space presents the Iittala collection, along with a wide selection of Arabia products.

To conclude the day’s program, we visit the recently opened Löyly Sauna which we tour with the architects Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen, Avanto Architects. Löyly is the Finnish word for the steam that envelopes you when water is thrown on the hot sauna rocks. This steam is essential to the sauna experience, which tour participants can either partake in at leisure or, alternatively, you may wish to climb atop the building to admire sea views. We enjoy a drink on the terrace. (Overnight Helsinki) B

Day 6: Sunday 18 September, Helsinki – Järvenpää – Helsinki
  • Villa Ainola: guided tour
  • Villa Suviranta, Järvenpää: guided tour
  • Time at leisure

Today we begin with a guided tour of Villa Ainola. Jean Sibelius and his family moved into this villa in 1904 after it was designed by Lars Sonck according to just two simple requests from the composer: a view of Lake Tuusula and a green fireplace in the dining room. The current appearance of the house is an authentic representation of the house as it was in 1969, when Aino Sibelius passed away there, 12 years after the death of her composer husband. We visit Aino’s garden, sauna and Sibelius’ tomb.

We next transfer to an artist’s villa and studio home called Suviranta. It used to be the home of painter Eero Järnefelt and his wife Saimi. It was built in 1901 and it is an interesting combination of Finnish wooden architecture and English countryside estate with a beautiful view of the lake and an enchanting garden. The historic house of Suviranta is a living time capsule and simultaneously embodies a family home, artist’s studio and heritage site. Eero Järnefelt and his family spent several years in this lake-side home, neighbours to Järnefelt’s sister, Aino Sibelius, and her husband, the famed composer Jean Sibelius. Also among the community’s artistic stars were the painter Venny Soldan-Brofeldt and her husband the novelist Juhani Aho.

We return to Helsinki mid afternoon for some time at leisure. (Overnight Helsinki) BL 

Jyväskylä - 2 nights

Day 7: Monday 19 September, Helsinki – Lahti – Jyväskylä
  • Sibelius Hall, Lahti: guided tour
  • Piano Pavilion, Lahti: guided tour & lunch
  • Alvar Aalto’s Church of the Cross, Lahti: guided tour

Today we depart Helsinki and drive north towards Lahti. We begin our exploration of this town with a visit of Sibelius Hall, a congress and concert centre completed in 2000 and situated by the Lake Vesijärvi, in the birthplace of Lahti’s industrial district. The very spacious Forest Hall and the stunning lake scenery create an incredible atmosphere, and as architects Hannu Tikka and Kimmo Lintula explain, the main source of inspiration in the design was Finnish forests. This is the biggest public wooden building to be constructed in Finland in the last 100 years.

Continuing with the wood theme, we visit the Piano Pavilion, built in 2008 from eco-friendly materials and part of the wooden architecture park being built in the area. According to Swedish-born Gert Wingårdh, the building resembles a ship that is about to launch.

We finish our time in Lahti with a visit to Aalto’s Church of the Cross (1970-1978), described as Gethsemane, a garden of peace in Lahti’s city centre. The church’s brilliant light-filled interior and excellent acoustics make a stunning concert space.

The end of the day sees us continuing the drive through Finnish woodlands before we check in to Hotel Yöpuu, a stylish boutique hotel. (Overnight Jyväskylä) BLD

Day 8: Tuesday 20 September, Jyväskylä
  • Muurame Church
  • Muuratsalo Experimental House
  • Saynatsalo Town Hall
  • University of Jyväskylä incl. main building with library, Lozzi Restaurant & Training School
  • Craft Museum

Today is filled with visits to Alvar Aalto buildings. With an expert local guide, we venture onto the island of Muuratsalo, which features a typical Finnish mixed forest, with birch and pine predominating.  Here, we view Aalto’s Experimental House which along with Villa Mairea (visited on day 10) is one of the best examples of Alvar Aalto’s residential architecture.

Other Aalto buildings visited today are Muurame Church (1926-29), and Saynatsalo Town Hall. James Maude Richards, British architectural writer, said of the Town Hall in 1978: ‘It is intimate and idiosyncratic, with an unusual layout directly responsive to the genus loci.’ The dark red brick, wood and copper of the buildings, and their abruptly varied roof shapes, seen through closely planted trees, visually link the whole group to the rugged landscape.

We conclude our day with visits to the Craft Museum and a tour of Aalto’s University of Jyväskylä, including the main building with the library, the Lozzi Restaurant and the training school. The Craft Museum explores Finnish textile expertise and traditional woodworking. (Overnight Jyväskylä) BL

Seinäjoki - 1 night

Day 9: Wednesday 21 September, Jyväskylä – Petäjävesi – Seinäjoki
  • Petäjävesi Old Church, Petäjävesi
  • Lunch at Hotel Alma, Seinäjoki
  • The Aalto Centre: guided tour, Seinäjoki

This morning we drive west towards Seinäjoki with a stop on the way in Petäjävesi, where the UNESCO World Heritage Old Church is located. Built in the 1760s for a small Lutheran parish, it was the town’s main church until 1879 when the new church was built. From the time when the new church started to be used, the old church was completely abandoned and consequently its preservation was ensured due to minimal interference from heating systems and other modifications. Features of the Petäjävesi Old Church include the steep pitched roof recalling the Gothic tradition, the interior’s hand-carved log surfaces with their silky patina and the silvery sheen on the seasoned walls, the elaborately carved pulpit, pews, chandeliers, and galleries with balustrades, which are entirely the work of local craftsmen and artists.

Upon arrival in Seinäjoki, we enjoy lunch at Hotel Alma. This refurbished building, just over a century old, was formerly a meeting point for railroad workers. Standing on the Hotel’s terrace, you can view the famous silhouette of Lakeuden Risti, a modern church designed by Alvar Aalto.

This afternoon, we visit the Aalto Centre in Seinäjoki, an internationally unique architectural complex, comprised of six buildings and Kansalaistori, the ‘Citizens’ Square’, built in 1988. Our walking tour takes us to four of the buildings designed by Alva Aalto: Lakeuksien Risti Church, City Hall, the Theatre and the Library. The church was designed by Aalto in response to a competition to find a church for a ‘small but rapidly evolving market town’. Then, there is the city hall, whose unique facade of dark blue ceramic tiles, designed by Aalto to be ‘that of the Seinäjoki Hall and of nowhere else’, is characteristic of a more diverse modernistic expression that Aalto developed later in his career. Next, we view the Seinäjoki theatre that Aalto designed in 1968, but was only completed almost 20 years later in 1987 under the supervision of Elissa Aalto. The façade is constructed of ceramic blocks. The airy foyer is furnished with Artek pieces and houses Aalto’s unique collection of bent wood reliefs. We finish the tour of the centre with the library, whose fan-shaped main room is the most striking feature. Light falls through the window slats casting beautiful shapes on the ceiling, walls and shelves. The restored Aalto-designed library was opened in May 2015. (Overnight Seinäjoki) BL

Turku - 2 nights

Day 10: Thursday 22 September, Seinäjoki – Noormarkku – Rauma – Turku
  • Villa Mairea, Noormarkku: guided tour
  • Lunch at Villa Tallbo, Rauma
  • Old Rauma: walking tour
  • Saint Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel, Turku

A scenic drive through the sparsely populated Noormarkku region brings us to Villa Mairea, an Alvar Aalto masterpiece of 20th-century architectural design. This villa is representative of the stage in Aalto’s career when he was moving from reduced functionalism to more organic but modern architectural expression in the late 1930s. It was built for Maire and Harry Gullichsen, a wealthy and open-minded couple, friends of Aalto. The couple was so supportive of Aalto’s modern design, that whilst the early stages of the building were being completed, they were convinced by Aalto to accept a hurried new project that was based on the concept of a continuous 250-square-metre living space, intended to resemble the limitless space of nature. This would accommodate all the collective functions of the house as well as the owner’s art collections.

We stop for lunch in Rauma, one of the oldest harbours in Finland, and then take a walking tour through Old Rauma. This UNESCO World Heritage medieval town is one of the finest examples of a Nordic city constructed in wood.

In the archipelago of Turku stands Saint Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel, a steeply arching structure with a shiny copper exterior and a warm wooden interior designed by Matti Sanaksenaho, in 2005. Sanaksenaho writes, “The chapel grows from its site, which is a hillock surrounded by pines. It rises from the landscape as a traditional sacral building”. (Overnight Turku) BL

Day 11: Friday 23 September, Turku – Kustavi – Paimio – Turku
  • Architecture walking tour of Turku: Alvar Aalto & Erik Bryggman
  • Haroma & Partners’ Summer Villa, Kustavi
  • Guided tour of Paimio Sanatorium

We begin this morning with an architecture walking tour of Turku following the steps of Alvar Aalto and Eryk Bryggman. Alvar Aalto resided in Turku between 1927 and 1933. During this time Turku played a significant role in the emergence of new architecture and furniture design. The tour includes exterior visits to three transitional works of Aalto’s functionalism: the Maalaistentalo, the Turun Sanomat as well as the Seurahuone. Having established his own office here in Turku at the beginning of the 1920’s, Erik Bryggman was one of the earliest representatives of functionalism in Finnish architecture. Among others, the tour presents his Hotel Hospits, Atrium and Student Union buildings.

After the tour we drive a short distance west of Turku to Kustavi, an archipelago made up of over two thousand islands. We will visit one of the ‘Summer Villas’ designed by Haroma & Partners, a small architecture firm established in 2004 and winners of ‘house of the day’ in Modern House in 2015. This Summer Villa is a private seaside residence only accessible by a short boat trip.

After our visit to the Summer Villas, we stop for picnic lunch on the shores of one of Kustavi’s many islands.

On the opposite side of Turku lies Paimio, where Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanatorium was built as an isolation hospital for tuberculosis patients in the 1920s. Winning an award for the design of this hospital at the age of 30, this design helped Aalto prove himself as an innovative and radical man with a social conscience. The design shows that Aalto had a profound concern for the diverse physical and psychological needs of patients with tuberculosis. Considerable emphasis was laid upon the peacefulness of the environment, hygiene and user comfort as well as humane, sustainable solutions. (Overnight Turku) BL

Helsinki - 2 nights

Day 12: Saturday 24 September, Turku – Haltia – Hvitträsk – Helsinki
  • Architecture tour of The Finnish Nature Centre, Haltia
  • Villa Hvitträsk, Kirkkonummi
  • Visit and Farewell Dinner at Finnjävel restaurant, designed by Ateljé Sotamaa

We depart Turku and drive back towards Helsinki. Situated on the edge of Nuuksio National Park, Haltia is a striking model of sustainable architecture. Designed by Lahdelma and Mahlamäki Architects, and inspired by a mythical goldeneye bird from the Finnish epic poem Kalevala, the graceful building won the Finnish Wood Prize in 2013. It is the first public building in Finland built entirely of wood.

We next visit Villa Hvitträsk, built at the beginning of the 20th century, and designed in the National Romantic style. This villa was home to architects Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren, and was visited by esteemed figures such as Jean Sibelius, Axel Gallen-Kallela and Maksim Gorki.

Tonight, we visit and dine at newly opened Finnjävel, located in Helsinki Kunsthalle, contemporary art museum, in the centre of Helsinki. As a finale to our tour, Finnjävel’s award-winning architects, brother and sister team Kivi Sotamaa and Tuuli Sotamaa, will show us around the Hall and the Salon and join us for our farewell meal. The restaurant is designed in the spirit of a Gesamtkunstwerk that stages food, the historical space and its objects in an intimate choreography for guests to enjoy. Brainchild of owners Henri Alén and Tommi Tuominen, Finnjävel celebrates Finnish cuisine, design and craftsmanship. The Salon (Salonki) is described as “dark, mystical, acoustically dampened room with Tuomas Kantelinen’s music. Low level lighting, silent acoustics, layers of new and old architecture together with a plethora of bespoke designs produce a range of subtle micro-atmospheres and moods. The custom designed furniture and objects are integral parts of an architectural environment, a theatrical experience and the refined service.” (Overnight Helsinki) BLD

Day 13: Sunday 25 September, Helsinki
  • Optional: Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
  • Visit Studio Kukkapuro: studio home of designer Yrjö Kukkapuro
  • Guided tour of Didrichsen Art Museum

This morning we take a guided architectural tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, designed by the American architect Steven Holl. The museum, highly controversial at the time of its design in 1998, exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery.

We next drive to the outskirts of Helsinki to visit Studio Kukkapuro – the studio and home of furniture designer Yrjö Kukkapuro and wife Irmeli Kukkapuro, a graphic artist. Designed through the collaboration of Kukkapuro and an engineer friend, Studio Kukkapuro is a remarkable 2150 square-foot studio and home that is entirely open-planned. Its defining feature is the unusual parabolic roofline, fabricated from eight-centimetre thick concrete. The roofline angles down to the ground in three places, acting as both roof and walls of the structure. The studio home is completed by seamless rows of windows, which connect the studio home effortlessly with its natural surroundings. We enjoy an exclusive visit to the studio home, where we can explore the countless examples of Kukkapuro furniture designs. Designed in 1969, Kukkapuro’s Remmi chair blends minimalism with ergonomic comfort and remains the best music listening chair in the world.

This afternoon we take a guided tour of the Didrichsen Art Museum. Located on Kuusisaari island in Helsinki, the Didrichsen Art Museum is a unique combination of an art museum and a private villa by the seaside. Villa Didrichsen was designed by Viljo Revell, who worked as Alvar Aalto’s assistant in the world exhibition in Paris and whose influences included the well-known modernist architect, Swiss-French Le Corbusier. We then return to our hotel and have the evening at leisure. (Overnight Helsinki) B

Day 14: Monday 26 September, Depart Helsinki
  • Tour concludes in the morning
  • At leisure/Check out

Our tour ends in Helsinki after breakfast. In the morning you will be required to check out of the hotel. Please contact ASA if you require assistance with a transfer to Helsinki Airport. B



ASA has selected a range of 4-star hotels that are themselves historical buildings and/or are located in historical centres. All hotels provide rooms with en suite bathroom. Further information on hotels will be provided in the ‘Tour Hotel List’ given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • Helsinki (6 nights): 4-star Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna – designed for the Summer Olympics by architect Erkki Huttunen, this functionalist Vaakuna building is located close to Helsinki Central Station. www.sokoshotels.fi
  • Jyväskylä (2 nights): 4-star Boutique Yöpuu Hotel – a unique hotel, centrally located and housed in a historical stone building. Features Restaurant Pöllöwaari. hotelliyopuu.fi
  • Seinäjoki (1 night):4-star Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna – located close to Market Square, this recently refurbished hotel features a guest sauna. www.sokoshotels.fi
  • Turku (2 nights): 4-star Radisson Blu Marina Palace Hotel  overlooking the Aura river in central Turku, this eco-friendly hotel features Baroque style bedrooms. www.radissonblu.com
  • Helsinki (2 nights): 4-star Hotel Helka – a stylish hotel located close to the Helsinki design district featuring decor by Artek and other Finnish designers. www.hotelhelka.com

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a single-occupancy room throughout the tour. In most hotels, this will be a double/twin room for single occupancy, except in Jyväskylä, where accommodation will be in a single room for 2 nights. The number of rooms available for single occupancy is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

How to Book


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate

Commencing from November 2021 it will be a condition of travel that all group leaders and ASA travellers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All participants must send ASA a copy of their vaccination certificate at the time of submitting their Reservation Application Form. For information on how to obtain either a Covid-19 digital certificate or a certificate in PDF format please view the Australian Government Services Australia “What types of proof there are” web page.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 14-day Architecture and Design Tour of Finland involves:

  • Exploring Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki and Turku on foot.
  • Extensive walking (up to 5km per day) and standing during museum and other site visits. Walking tours may include steep slopes, flights of stairs, cobbled streets and uneven ground.
  • Regular use of Helsinki’s public transport system.
  • You must be able to carry your own hand luggage. Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person.
  • 4-star hotels with four hotel changes.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $8480.00 Land Content Only – Early-Bird Special: Book before 31 December 2021

AUD $8680.00 Land Content Only

AUD $1550.00 Single Supplement

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with en suite bathroom in 4-star hotels.
  • Breakfast daily, lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary, where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at the hotel, except at the Hotel Helka, where porterage is not included
  • Lecture and site visit program
  • Public transport in Helsinki as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Helsinki, Helsinki-Australia
  • Airport-hotel transfers
  • Personal spending money
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
  • Porterage at Hotel Helka
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we recieve written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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