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Home » Mia Åkerfelt, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Mia Åkerfelt, Åbo Akademi University, Finland


The Historiography of Architecture in Finland

Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809, and the buildings erected during that time are arguably a part of the Swedish history of architecture. The first Finnish chair in art history was established in 1897 at the University of Helsinki. Since then, three more universities have founded programs in art history in which PhD-studies are possible: Åbo Akademi University, Jyväskylä University and Turku University. Courses in the history of architecture are integrated in the regular curriculum. So far, no historiographic survey of the change in themes for theses during the years has been made. This paper is an attempt to outline a historiography of the Finnish PhD theses with themes in history of architecture.

The aim is to show that the doctoral research on architecture at the Finnish universities have mainly focused on themes related to the nationalistic canon, which is based on the historical development after 1809. The presentation includes how the architecture prior to 1809 has been perceived in this context. The paper is based on a survey of all the PhD-theses in architecture that have been written at the four universities from the late 19th century until present. The central questions are which themes and methodological frameworks have been popular. The subjects are related to general trends in Finnish art history in common and to the vast amount of other publications in the field of Finnish architecture.

Mia Åkerfelt

Photo: Andreas Dienert

Mia Åkerfelt is Lecturer in Art History at Åbo Akademi University and took her PhD in 2011.  She has also been the project manager and curator for the exhibition Lars Sonck och Hilda Hongell – byggnadskonstnärer i Mariehamn. The exhibition was held in Helsinki 25.4-17.6 2007 and in Mariehamn 25.1-24.2 2008. Between 2004-2008 Åkerfelt worked as news broadcaster and reporter for the local branch of the national broadcasting company YLE.


”Sigrid Granfelt – Apa i bur” och ”Sigrid Granfelt – Skiss av naken man”, Stiftelsen Ålands Vänners konstsamling, Stiftelsen Ålands Vänner, Mariehamn 2012.

För fremlingarnes trefnad – byggmästaren Hilda Hongell och iscensättningen av badorten Mariehamn på 1890-talet, Eget förlag, Åbo 2011.

”Lars Sonck och Hilda Hongell – byggnadskonstnärer i Mariehamn”, Svenskbygden, 3/2007.

Sågen och människan – boken om Kronvik sågsamhälle, Kronvik byaförening, Vasa 2005.


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