History in words
The School of Art and Design, which was founded in 1871 as Craft School, has grown into one of the most international universities in Finland. It is the largest in its field in the Nordic countries and one of the most respected in the world.
From Ateneum to Arabianranta
The nickname known by the people, Atski, the school got from Ateneum, the noble building drawn by Theodor Höijer, located by the Rautatientori square. Ateneum served as the furnace of industrial art education for 100 years. Now the building hosts the Finnish National Gallery. The School of Art and Design moved to its current premises in the Arabia factory real estate in 1986, and after several decades, gathered all departments of the school under a common address. The Arabianranta project has created an internationally significant industrial art and media center around the school.
Studies and research
Since the 1970s, the aim of education at the School of Art and Design has been to deepen students’ scientific and artistic competence, and to refine their innovative processing into professional practices. The original, traditional education in product and environmental design was gradually joined by strong training in visual communication, new media, film and television. The school's swift internationalization has opened doors to partnerships with foreign institutions and businesses, and to international markets, for example, China and Japan. Media education, research and development, as well as multidisciplinary research schools are now integrated in the operation of the school.
Since the 1990s, the establishment of multidisciplinary study programs between different universities has been part of the renewal and expansion of education. IDBM, Polis, MEDES, HSCE and Visual Journalism have paved the way for the later, more extensive cooperation of the universities.
The degree system renewed in 1994 divided the basic degree into a lower and higher basic degree: a three-year degree of Bachelor of Art (BA), and a two-year degree of Master of Art (MA). Until the end of 1999, it was possible to get a Licentiate of Art degree. The current degree structure is internationally commensurate.
Since 1983, it has been possible to study for a degree of Doctor of Arts at the School of Art and Design. The first doctoral dissertations took place at the beginning of the 1990s. Today, eight to ten new Doctors of Arts graduate from the School of Art and Design every year.
History of tomorrow
In 2005, the inaugural words of the Aalto University were uttered. In 2010, the School of Art and Design, Helsinki School of Economics, and University of Technology started their operation as the Aalto University in the fields of art and design, economics and technology. The historical university reform was amongst the most significant changes in the history of higher education: Along with the Aalto University, the university turned into a foundation based, multidisciplinary university.
Alumni, former students of the School of Art and Design
Throughout its history, the school and its students have with their efforts had an impact on the direction of Finnish culture and design, and they have gained international recognition through their work. The top names of Finnish industrial art, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Kaj Franck, Birger Kaipiainen, Erik Bruun, Antti Nurmesniemi, Yrjö Kukkapuro, Pentti Sammallahti, Yrjö Wiherheimo, Janna Syvänoja, Harri Koskinen, Ilkka Suppanen, Elina Brotherus and Paola Suhonen all have been students at the School of Art and Design.