Taneli Poutvaara
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In this page I describe more closely my architecture activities. In architecture I am a small business entrepreneur with an aim to develop the level of the tasks with patience. I am not taking significant personal economical risks, although many of my projects are beyond my own realization possibilities. I have designed and realized small projects and have developed my readiness and resources. I have made a lot of plans and designs in concept level about a large variety of subjects and scales. With conditions I can take part in projects or realize completely projects in my branch.

I have been running a small business in design and architecture for more than a decade.  In the Architecture gallery I am presenting samples of four dozen projects. I have made research, planning, practical design, realizations and been in different kind of roles in my own branch.

I am not presenting in my Architecture gallery my design-plans, which have been accumulated to a number of hundreds, but I can come back to them depending on a case. In the Architecture gallery there are applied arts, forestry, interior design, technical design, planning, prototype design, renovation, architectural design and design competitions.

I have personally designed and partly by myself realized interior design and residential and building projects. Interior design is by principles familiar, such as also furniture design in prototype level. Renovation is my continuous hobby, such as also forestry and gardening.

Since year 2011 I have been with technical issues, new design methods and building product development. I have been running architecture projects of different tempos. Part of my projects are theoretical, others are more practical and the rest are between theory and practice.

I am looking for collaborators with architecture background for my activities. Smaller projects I have been realizing with people from different backgrounds. I have good readiness to act in several planning and realization design related issues as developer and quality controller. I am well informed about construction sector related business history, development and actors.

Studies and Entrepreneurship

I have studied in six university-level units in Finland and abroad. In 2010 I completed Bachelor of Science (Architecture). The subject of my thesis was "New standards in energy efficient construction". I am currently focused in the building sector. In practice this means primary to finish Architecture Master´s degree. In practice and practical entrepreneurship the goals are technical issues and independent architectural design.

I am representing a company called Suunnittelutoimisto Poutvaara (Design and Planning Bureau Poutvaara), which is registered in Finland. Within my company I can realize several kind of designs, from product development to realizations as well as plan development in different levels. Some plans have progressed without noticing so extensive, that they have been beyond my own realization possibilities, but according to them it would be possible to make further work even with larger basis. For large and economically narrow projects I would directly change into limited joint stock company basis.

In my web-pages I am not presenting my design-objects and innovations, to which there can be applied a model right or a patent. The projects can be carried further only with additional funding or production design. I have innovated objects and other products since my youth and the skills have sustainable developed. In my architecture plans my product copyrights are entirely of my own – my plans are based on my own product development.

Top Level at Readiness for Working at Distance

In my use there are two PC-computers designed especially as CAD-platforms. The larger 27" is for table use and another 17" is a mobile one - the both have enough power for demanding present day professional use. For these I am having Autodesk CAD-, design- and CAD BIM-programs with commercial rights, which can be used for architectural and engineering practices. The internet connections that I have in use are sufficient for data transferring common in the profession. In my use there are printing and scanning equipment, and modern mobile readiness suitable for the profession. I have seen computer and data processing development for three decades. Mainly I have tried to remain in the contemporary state of technical development of my own branch, but I have made certain exceptions in some issues: I take part only formally to the use of mobile phone computers and new social media.

I have had photography as a hobby for more than three decades and digital photography for a decade. I run nowadays modern up to date cameras and data management. In my use there are a Single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, with a FX-cell (so called 36x24 mm CMOS-sensor), and smaller cameras from different periods. I finished photography on film a decade ago and all my contemporary photography is digital photography. I manage digital material with professional level post-processing programs, mainly with Photoshop. I can photograph and analyze also micro-level objects. I am not running commercial activities with hovering photographing equipment, but I have tested such.

I am also using traditional architectural tools, such as a light table, technical drawing machines and I do architectural models with professionally intended materials. For architectural drawing I use a large number of different pens, instruments and papers. I have in my use traditional local Finnish building codes and literature.

My design activities are concentrated only in Finland. I am travelling aboard only with certain limited number of items and aboard I am practically only getting familiar with local conditions. For myself working aboard would require exceptionally well prepared starting point. Working at distance is an easy option with low starting investment costs.

Architecture as Vocation

I could recommend architecture as a hobby for anyone. As profession architecture is especially demanding. For a starting point it requires both drawing skills and good knowledge about all subjects of the secondary school teaching, particularly mathematics. It is important to have a comprehension of space and time. Imagination skills and insight into different situations are also needed.

The further one involves into architecture as profession, the more other skills are needed: time management, leadership, economic skills, other basic sciences such as physics and chemistry, engineering sciences, strategic skills, business administration, medicine, history, law, theology, philosophy et cetera. Architecture receives inspiration also from other forms of art - applied arts such as fashion and interior decoration; also from the art for the sake of art such as painting and sculpture.

In architecture there are easily communicating elements, but right comprehension of architecture needs initiation from primary education. Though those conditions only few can study to be architects and only a friction of those students passing the university degree have demanding level building design activities. One takes responsibility of one´s own goals, but the most significant roles in architecture are strongly dependent on the goals of the society.

The Digital Building Planning and Design Systems

There are known architecture from the last 12 000 years and the oldest known architect as a person called Imhotep lived in Egypt for more than 4600 years ago. Mathematics developed in the Mediterranean cultural circles and only in the beginning of the 16th century the invention of the slide rule made routine calculation more clear. The sciences made a revolution in the 18th century and in the 20th century the modern sciences were formed approximately in same form in which they are currently. The space age started with the Sputnik satellite in the year 1957. After this one started to develop computerized calculation and in the mid 1970´s the pocket calculators displaced the slide rules. The computers were used for the building design from the early days, but the calculations were mainly written on paper. In practice the digital design systems came in general use not before the 1980´s as the personal computers became more common. The increase of the capacity in the late 1990´s made structural design with computer practicable. During the last 30 years the CAD-program development has been as rapid as the development of computers. How should one take up a professional attitude for the latest technology?

In architecture the planning and design programs - such as CAD, CAD BIM and GIS - have become everyday necessities in Finland. Structural design with a computer is currently a practical standard. Although the plan-, map- and building information is managed with computers, the digital material is still very seldom involved as a solution element in the planning and the life-cycle of buildings. Although Helsinki is ahead of the other parts of Finland in building inspections, in several countries there are even less computer managed planning and building design than in the Finnish countryside; in several developing countries the profession of the architect is even practically unknown - still many decision makers around the world wish to maintain an image of that they are in the control of the development, at least the material development.

For young students of architecture I would give an advice that CAD and BIM give new possibilities to design buildings. Sometimes the computer-aided design is so easy, that one forgets that buildings are actually designed for realization. It is recommendable to solve all the problems in design before it is too late. The digital design has become an essential part of architecture today in Finland. One should remember that mastering it in the right way requires wisdom.

The purpose of computers is to accelerate processes and make them more efficient. Though this one should always be able to do the same or the principal processes also without a computer. This includes especially the structural design, but also the basic level architectural design and making the illustrations. Working in BIM-level makes it possible for several parties to make design of the same model simultaneously and include more complex information, which previously would not have been possible to include in the same model. In basic level the layers were previously made without the computer, but not with such precision, interaction and simulation properties both in technical and visual nature. Whereas in traditional building projects work with the building ends when building is complete, from BIM-model the alteration design and maintenance continues without significant extra investments. In architectural profession the responsibility of the digital system skills are mainly on the private sector.

About Architectural Education

The highest architecture education in Finland is given in Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu at university level. The final examination is Architect, but nowadays the degree is in two steps so that first there is a bachelor´s degree and after that the master´s degree. The vocational school architect degree (Architect AMK) was halted in 1996. Though this there have been building design education in art university and vocational schools. The qualifications to act as an architect can be achieved also by experience without a degree. The government decided after a pause of one and half decades to continue the vocational school architecture education.  This should be seen as positive development for the building sector.

Architecture in Finland is underestimated and poorly known although information campaigns. Compared to population there are few architects and also the project resources are small, at least when Finland is compared to the old cultural states of Europe - not when compared with the East-European ex-socialist states. By increasing the quantity of the building sector experts, one can improve the design.

By quantity the majority of buildings in Finland are not designed by architects. The toughened building legislation will increase the number of construction faults, if there will not be available more experts with updated skills. It is also better if the design problems are solved in advance rather than in the construction sites. The government must also remember that if one wants to improve the quality of the building design, one must also raise the share of the architectural design fees of the overall building design budget of the total national construction costs.

In practical level the skills of using computers must be obtained from the private sector. It would be more equal, if the education system would include BIM and new design methods in the agenda. Largely in practice there is also common that the best resources in architecture and planning are in large multinational corporations. The use of BIM has made it more feasible for smaller companies to go after the same tasks as corporations, but this requires significant practical skills also in BIM, such as programming. There is a gap between the education plan and the practical skills needed in the profession.


About the Future of Architecture

The profession of architect is one of the oldest roles of the world. During the last 12 000 years the basic role of the architect has remained quite much the same, but the emphasis on the society issues, technical knowhow and cultural emphasis have changed. The basic role has always been and will be to create buildings and spaces from material. The economic periods and the systems of societies have developed to be denser in their cycles. During the last 150 years there can be noticed a single repeating tendency: to be continuously on the top of the development and to be always right.

The future of architecture can´t be comprehended without strong consciousness of the past and personal comprehension of that everything is part of temporal continuum. During the last 100 years the culture has strived in short periods to continuously renew itself and almost compulsively create always new. The comprehension of man of one´s own role in the world has been in continuous change and the division of labor is dispersing and specializing stronger. The role of the architect is to manage large entities and represent the existing world. This is highly debated subject, as the number of different layers in the world is continuously expanding and the need to negotiate a compromise with different point of views has continuously become more difficult. On must notice also the regional differences and the demands by international activities. The architects should see themselves as negotiators, who act as problem solvers and avoid roles, in which they do not by themselves understand their effects on the environments.

Personally I see essential for the architecture and architects in the future to be at the nerve of the time with technique, construction and its representation – as well as the life of the humankind, its interaction and its way of using the material and the idea world. The profession of the architect can´t be reinvented, rather an architect should combine oneself into a large quantity of co-operation demands and different roles. The previous tasks of the architect transferred into modern times requires living according to contemporary interaction skills and technical application. Essential part of the role of the architect is that the architect sees ones work to be a part of accumulating knowledge and developing material entity.

In architecture one has noticed essential taking into account the history. The societies are constructed on existing languages, skills and comprehension of oneself and the world. Most of the roles of the architects are to sustain and develop the existing material world. The world population growth has meant and in the future will mean the sharing of barely sufficient, in which the majority of construction is meant to be only temporary, as has always been. The need for constructing central buildings has always been strong and will always be strong. Now and in the future the cutting edge of architecture has always understood its own state – creating sustainable, structurally interesting, spatially variable architecture striving at high social ideals. The common ideologies of creation – in the sense as there has been ideal tendencies in the history of architecture - are over. The architecture must have ideals and it should take risks, but not on the behalf of the society and the users. The central buildings should last for several generations, at least a hundred years, and those should be able to change in technically rapidly changing and unpredictable world.


About My Own Background


My own background is that I am Finnish, but what does it mean to me? Finland is a European one hundred years old country living moderately. Compared to an average country of the world, the land area of Finland is half and the number of population is 1/6 of the average. The gross domestic product of Finland is high, but also the living costs are high and there are no other significant raw material resources except the forests. The location of Finland makes the country significant only with connections to the Russia. Finland is one of the northernmost countries of the world with no own connection to the Arctic Sea and the climate of the country is subarctic. The temperature of Finland is between -40 °C and 35 °C. Finland is well linked the rest of the world and belongs both to the EU and Schengen areas.

Finland has been a country between Sweden and Russia, with an own language and culture. The country has belonged since the medieval times both to Sweden and to Russia and since 1917 has been an independent country. The influences from Sweden and Russia have both been significant and this has had effect on the Finnish identity and the family line. On the other hand Finland has been since the independence aside of the rest of the world, but on the other hand the Finns and also my own family line has dispersed widely around the world, especially during the independence. By the increased international interaction and since 1995 the EU membership of Finland, the Finnish have become more international. Economically, since 2002 the joining to the euro zone has set an economical frame and partly juridical requirements for the grounds of commercial activities. I am myself dependent on Euro-American political and economic system. Equally, which is difficult for an American viewpoint to understand, the Finns are strongly bounded up with Russia by the economy.


My own family background was culture-emphasized and the development of my own creative activity was the main reason for why I ended up in architecture. As young I had ideas and made designs, although I had not yet founded architecture. I found architecture as there was strong requirements for me to design something useful. In Finland architecture has mainly been imported for the needs of the Swedish and the Russian administration. The public buildings in Finland have been in the harness of the Russian and Swedish administration to support them. Other architecture have been so narrow in resources, that it have had to be mainly deconstructed as technically outdated so that the structure of the society would remain as vital. Russia administrated whole Finland since 1809 and in Finland the architecture education was born not before 1850s to 1870s, mainly from the Swedish and the Russian origins. Only at late 19th century there was born an ideal of independent Finnish architecture, which would be basis for the state of Finland. The Finnish culture and identity leaped forward with support of Swedish intellectuals. Soon the aim was independence both from Russia and Sweden. Self I see central in the background the construction of the administration on Swedish and Russian basis and the Finnish cultural background, in which there is empathized the independent identity born in the international era. Although I have skills in ”government officer level Swedish”, as my idols in the newly independent Finland I see as the few architects with Finnish background, who also spoke Swedish as it was common in their era. During the independence of Finland there has been a notable feature for Finnish architecture to be a “little west”, in which there has been included a “little Russia” and “little Sweden”. The rejection of this miniature world has been a strong basis for that I see important for architects to be strongly independent, international and also strive to be predecessors in the international era. I see it necessity that the aims are higher than ordinary, with the risk that in the existing circumstances those aims can´t be reached.

The cultural and linguistic identity is much more challenging question nowadays. There are 1/1330 speakers of Finnish in the World population. I see multilinguistic and comprehensive knowledge about other cultures as necessity. In the branch of architecture there are many concepts, which are not based on language, but discussing about them requires linguistic communication. In that case the independent linguistic thinking as well as communication with other languages is a requirement for learning and development of ideas.

An essential limitation, but also a cultural strength for me is the cuisine. I do not use animals as food, but though I use fish. I see the future of mankind in food that is produced in sustainable way for the ecosystem. I consider the vegetarian and fish based cuisine creating inspiration for architecture. In addition to that the cuisine and the food is a good way to get acquainted with other cultures, also foreign architecture.

Finland as a state is a parliamentary democracy, in which there are an own parliament and representatives in the European Union who take part in making decisions about the common EU policies. In the country there are also own local administrations. I have not experienced the typical Finnish party-orientated politics as my own subject. In the national level I experience the independence and acting as a part of the international community as an important maintainable value. I see Finland should itself be ready to make independent judgments and decisions also before the international community has reached a consensus. In this, according to my view, there is the same starting point, which should also be in the independent Finnish architecture.

As far as culture is considered, I am quite independent of Finnish literature, visual arts and music. I see as important to be independent also of cinema and television; media and communication. I have become independent also of Finnish architecture, but it is clear that both Finnish and foreign architecture and culture acts both as a source of inspiration and warning examples. I see that there should be taken interest to culture whether one disagrees about it or likes it not. The time of uniform culture in international Finland is past. Also the Finnish should not require, that people in other cultural areas should live with the conditions set by Finland.

I see that the meaning of existence in the world is important. I see it not valuable to deny spirituality. I experience that in the world there is a spirit, which is a guiding power. I oppose the thought that everything should follow scientific viewpoint in the world and people should not be able to follow their own guidance. I think architecture should support the spiritual coping of humans and in addition provide mental strength in life. I think architecture referring only to itself or entertainment can´t provide content in life for people. Architecture must support old and existing and provide more than what the world is as material and temporary state of affairs. New architecture should appeal to same main principles, which there have been for the last 12000 years in successful architecture. Of these the central is the presence of the Spirit, honesty and aiming to high quality built environment and the technical-artistic knowhow of architecture.

13.12.2015                     Taneli Poutvaara


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