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Architecture students explore the essence of light within Erasmus project of three universities

Published on 13.4.2023
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Arkkitehtiopiskelijoiden pienryhmä keskustelee tehtävästään, jossa suunnitellaan valo-olosuhteiden perusteella rakennusta keskelle metsää.
"It is great having the Suomi experience as well having an intense view on architecture and how it works. This has been something that we haven’t done in our home town for sure", says architecture student Theoharis Michailidis from Greece (in the middle of the picture).
Tampere University of Applied Sciences’ (TAMK) architect students got 30 visitors from Germany and Greece at the end of March. Erasmus Blended Intensive (BIP) courses are unique international cooperation in the field of engineering.

Together with Jade Hochschule in Oldenburg and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, TAMK organizes a tripartite study unit Light in architecture. The first intensive part was held in Tampere, Helsinki and Seinäjoki. Germany will follow in the autumn, and Greek’s turn will be in the spring 2024. Finnish students participate to all of these three parts.

The students worked in the same small groups the whole week. The groups consisted in two students from each country. The theme for the study unit is light. Light was chosen, because it is very different in the North, in central Europe and Mediterranean countries.

Small group is planning a building to the forest based on light circumstances.

"As architects, we should not only look but also see. We focus on little things that make a difference. Different shades and colors of light. Being adaptive to the environment is something that we have learned as well. If we would have done this group assignment in Germany or Greece, it would have been totally different", says Konstantinos Tsintsis from Aristotle University.

"We have learned a lot about the light, taking a lot of closer inspection. We visited many places and we had to focus more on finding light and seeing how it enters the spaces. So, I think we approach every building and every space in a different way than we would if we were just tourists around here", adds Vanessa Herold from Jade Hochschule.

Pienryhmissä oli opiskelijoita kaikista osallistuvista maista.
"It is very nice to work together with international students. We come from different educational backrounds, different approaches from the schools, and we have different teachers and their approaches as well. Pretty funny to see how we can combine all of these", says Hai Duc Vuong from Germany (third student from the left).

New dimension to international educational cooperation

TAMK's part is coordinated by teachers Minna Nyström-Järvinen and Elina Ritola. According to Nyström-Järvinen, the language of architecture is international.

"In previous years, we have attended construction architecture training at universities in our discipline. So, something similar has been done in the past, but now the Erasmus BIP Programme gave a whole new dimension of cooperation. Despite the huge amount of work, it's great to see the students' enthusiasm, and how teaching methods and practices from different countries are compared and utilized."

The project started when Birgit Remuss, Jade Hochshule's teacher, spent an academic year at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and with her colleagues there, she thought about expanding the cooperation between the universities.

"Erasmus BIP projects must have the cooperation of at least three higher education institutions. I remembered that Minna Nyström-Järvinen gave a good lecture in Oldenburg a few years ago. I asked Minna if TAMK would be interested in joining the project, and she was immediately excited about it."

Nyström-Järvinen believes that the project will be for everyone an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

"We definitely want to continue this kind of cooperation. We hope that our students will be granted a travel grant for this type of purpose, just like Greek and German students."

The real character of Tampere

Tampere appears cozier and warmer to our international guests than Helsinki. According to German student Hai Duc Vuong, Tampere is a very well-planned city.

"I like the urban planning and public transport. The distances are so short that you can walk them. There is an opportunity to do anything. The buildings are another story."

The teachers of the Greek group, Venetia Tsakalidou and Styliani Lefaki, think it is surprising to see a theater in the center of Tampere in dialogue with a factory.

"We are used to historical centers of towns – our urban life doesn’t include the industrial zone. But this a very unique experience how you have resolved these things. The real character of Tampere is that it combines everything together."


Text and photos: Emmi Rämö