The Thirteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2011
Berkeley Prize 2011

Iina Valkeisenmaki Bio

"My interest in architecture began when I was only seven years old, when my parents enrolled me on a hut building camp for children. During one week, we spent our days in a forest, climbed trees and built all kinds of huts in and under them.

Almost twenty years later, I am still utterly fascinated by the simplest of huts. To me, primitive architecture is architecture in its purest and also most beautiful sense; a place for shelter and protection. A lecturer at my university once said: "The meaning of architecture is to make one understand something new about their existence". I was deeply impressed, and became fascinated by the thoughts and writings of architectural phenomenologists.

I began my studies of architecture at Helsinki University of Technology, nowadays Aalto University, in 2004. It has taken me many years to study, but it is common for Finnish architecture students to work for longer periods of time while studying, hence graduating in a slightly longer time. During these years, I have spent time working in an architecture firm, on a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, most recently, as a research assistant for sustainable architecture at the University. I have also done voluntary work as a climate change advocate in an international climate change program, lived in Australia for one year and worked as a wilderness tour guide in Iceland. Traveling and having a broad work experience that is not only from my own field of studies has helped me become more open-minded, and to appreciate and admire the different people and cultures of the world. I hope to put these experiences to a good use in the future."

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Ms. Iina Valkeisenmäki, Aalto University, Espoo Finland
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