The Alvar Aalto symposium is an international forum for discussion on contemporary architecture. Since 1979, it has been organized in Jyväskylä, Finland every three years. The cast of invited speakers over the past years includes such names as Peter Zumthor, Bijoy Jain, Shigeru Ban, Kazuyo Sejima, and Charles Correa. The next symposium will be held in August 2015 under the title “Making it work!” with a focus on the process of making architecture.

The intention is to focus on opening up the different kinds of processes of dialogue and exchange that are key to creating a successful architecture project. There will be four thematically organized moderated sessions and two keynote speakers. The preliminary proposal for themes includes four different ways relating to the process of making architecture ranging from one centered on materials as a key to the process, to one based on using the digital as a tool for design, to one focused on the social aspect of architecture and its role in providing a framework for everyday life in different contexts, and to one taking the local context as a starting point.

The goal is to have the speakers talk about their relationship to the process of making architecture and to address how the process of making is embedded in its specific context and how it shapes and influences its surroundings, structurally, sociologically as well as economically. The aim is to find interesting perspectives into the process of making architecture and to the question of how to best address and make use of the potential and resources available in the specific context of each assignment.

An underlying principle of thought is the notion that the given premises, while often not ideal, are to be seen as a potential opportunity and possibility rather than trying to resist them and fight against them. This kind of an approach is not to be taken as a submissive acceptance of limitations of whatever kind, but rather it is to be understood as a means of finding the best and most natural way to address the task at hand in any given situation.

The intention is to put together an interesting group of speakers with varied and even contrasting approaches to the process of making architecture and to inspire passionate discussion about the topic.