Ari Hynynen

Ari Hynynen

Professor of Architectural and Urban Research


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Ari Hynynen is Professor of Architectural and Urban Research (Alvar Aalto Chair) at Tampere University (TAU), Unit of Architecture. He has been the director of the Seinäjoki Urban Laboratory since 2009. In his doctoral dissertation from the year 2000, Hynynen studied local potential of urban planning from the standpoint of ecological modernisation. His post-doctoral research 2001-2004 dealt with issues of spatial integration of immigrants in urban contexts. 2005-2009 Hynynen was the co-founder and leader of the university’s EDGE laboratory, which is specialised in analysing and modelling urban structures and processes by using GIS methods and developing new ones. In his recent work, Hynynen has explored topical issues of urban and regional development, and he has led several projects and consortiums as a principal investigator. His publications cover a wide range of topics from Alvar Aalto’s design approach to the development of railway station areas.

Alvar Aalto Chair

The Alvar Aalto Chair is a chair at the TAU Unit of Architecture located in the University Consortium of Seinäjoki. The scope of the chair is architectural and urban research: more precisely urban and regional development and renovation of post-war architecture and urban environments.   

The chair is part of the Epanet network, which consists of 20 professors from five universities in Western Finland. The aim of the network is to entrench research activity in South Ostrobothnia and have the researchers  engage in interdisciplinary collaboration with each other, and especially with business and industry, educational institutions and local government.

The Alvar Aalto Chair embraces the development of the regional innovation environment of building, design and planning. Important partners include the City of Seinäjoki as well as other cities and municipalities of the region, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, the other Epanet chairs and companies of the regional construction cluster. Scientific partners include domestic and foreign universities, and naturally other units of TAU.

Collaboration in R&D projects increases the know-how of the actors and provides new business opportunities. Many cities already consider their built environment a significant success factor.

In addition to launching and leading projects, the job description of the chair includes supervision of doctoral students and diverse expert tasks. Collaboration with international universities allows the region access to the latest scientific knowledge and the chair also produces new and interesting results for the international scientific community.

The chair started in autumn 2009, and it is held by architect Ari Hynynen, D.Sc (Tech).

Urban Laboratory

Urban Laboratory approaches built environment comprehensively, emphasizing future orientation. Different scales and disciplines of architectural design converge, as the laboratory explores new professional practices and methods to improve user-friendliness and resource efficiency of the built environment. Research projects are commonly multi-disciplinary including collaboration with cities, municipalities, private companies and universities. The laboratory encourages students and researchers to engage personally in empirical studies. This is excellently supported by the regional context of the laboratory and its location at the University Centre of Seinäjoki (UCS), where 20 research units from five universities intermingle daily. This offers also a good starting point to conduct research and teaching interactively.

The laboratory’s research is divided in three lines:   

New planning and design methods

This line aims at analyzing built environment from the standpoint of its users and inhabitants. On this basis, new planning and design methods with better accuracy will be developed. So far the themes such as health and welfare have gained continuity and skills, but new openings are constantly in pipeline. Methodical toolbox includes, amongst other methods, GIS –applications. The laboratory has collaborated with environmental psychologists, health scientists and traffic planners.        

Built environment in transition

The starting point here is the transformation of cities and regions, which will be analyzed through urban morphology and functional networks. The transformation process is continuous due to changes in technology, macro economy, production, demography and life styles. These changes lead us to new situations and unexpected challenges, which should be met with new mindsets, methods and process models. In practice, the scale of the studies range from individual buildings to regional structures. Collaboration with regional scientists is necessary for recognizing also the prominent role of institutions.    

Special issues of modernist built heritage

This line focuses on the post-war built heritage and urban milieus from the standpoint of architectural history, construction technology and design theory. There is growing need for research, as the prevailing way of building and design still emphasize modernist approach to new building. Considering resource efficiency, the existing built environment is still treated too often as an obstacle rather than economical, ecological and cultural resource.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science (Technology), Architecture

Award Date: 30 May 2000

Master of Science (Architecture)

Award Date: 28 May 1986


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