WiT LAB ?>


Aalto WiT (World in Transition) LAB is a network of researchers and projects focusing on resilient communities, human settlements, humanitarian architecture, environmental awareness, pre-disaster planning, reconstruction, sustainable technologies, community engagement and grass roots action. WiT LAB furthers the Aalto University’s strategy on sustainability, interdisciplinary collaboration and creating lifelong living environments.

Aalto WiT LAB coordinates and carries out basic and applied research, publication of topical literature and expert assignments on the above mentioned themes. It also supports master’s level and continuing education courses.


Aalto WiT LAB collaborates with the following units of Aalto University: Aalto Global Impact, Creative Sustainability Master’s Programme, Aalto ARTS (Dept. of Architecture), Aalto ENG (Dept. of Civil Engineering, Dept. of Built Environment, Dept. of Energy Technology), New Global Research Group and Aalto BIZ.


Aalto WiT LAB is a flexible, horizontal network of units and individuals within Aalto University, with a variety of interests and professional experience on related topics. The international experience of the members creates a vast global network of experts, institutes, programs and universities. It is a forum of discussion and action for people within the academia, who are passionate to change the world for the better.





Doctoral thesis: Humanitarian architecture creates security and protection in the midst of poverty and crises

When global crises drive people out of their homes, multidisciplinary cooperation can help make something out of very little.

In her doctoral dissertation, Saija Hollmén presents five architectural projects planned and implemented in cooperation with poor communities. Each pattern of the African fabrics in the image has a specific meaning. Photo: Nita Vera.



“Now the Baobab Shines!” – Cultural Locality Interfacing with Interdisciplinary Pedagogies in Architectural Education

Author: Saija Hollmén

Understanding cultural differences and their relations is essential in a world marked by the complex discrepancies between various cultural interpretations. As our indigenous culture largely determines the way we see the world, it is only through a conscious decision that we are able to find mutual understanding and common ground in our search for sustainable solutions to contemporary global challenges.


This thesis discusses global sustainability, cultural locality and humanitarian crises in the framework of architectural design practice and interdisciplinary pedagogies in architectural education. It positions the discussion in the context of higher education and explores transdisciplinary and socio-cultural dimensions of architecture and their societal impacts.  The overarching research question covering the main themes of the thesis is: What happens in the interface of architecture, cultures and disciplines from the point of view of university pedagogy?


The realities of architectural design practices described in this book are rooted in real life experiences in low-resource settings on African ground, tested in the field and discussed in the context of education. The aim of the research is to develop a pedagogical framework for interdisciplinary architectural education that would respond to global humanitarian challenges in a variety of cultural contexts, by forging university programmes that create connections and entry points between various disciplines.



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