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Department of Architecture



A native of Jyväskylä, Finland, Dr Sofia Singler trained as an architect at the University of Cambridge and the Yale School of Architecture. She practiced architecture in Boston, MA, with a focus on educational and industrial buildings, before returning to Cambridge to undertake a PhD in architectural history. At Yale, she held the Edward P. Bass Scholarship in Architecture, and at Cambridge, a Gates Cambridge PhD Scholarship.


Dr Singler’s specialism is Aalto scholarship—the critical analysis of the architecture, urbanism, design and thought of Finnish modernists Alvar, Aino and Elissa Aalto and their associates. Her other research interests lie in the histories and theories of modern architecture, Indigenous architectures, architectural criticism, and architectural pedagogies for children. She is currently engaged in two main research projects, one on the post-construction ‘afterlives’ of Aalto buildings, and the other on contested notions of contemporaneity in Sámi public buildings.

Informing and informed by her academic research, Singler is also actively engaged in curating architecture. Major exhibitions include Città dei Morti—City of the Dead at the Alvar Aalto Museum (2015) and, most recently, Alvar Aalto in Deutschland: Gezeichnete Moderne/Alvar Aalto in Germany: Drawing Modernism at the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin (2023). She also served as academic advisor and presenter for the feature-length documentary film AALTO (dir. Virpi Suutari, 2020).


Key publications: 



The Religious Architecture of Alvar, Aino and Elissa Aalto (London: Lund Humphries, 2023).


Book chapters

“Contradictory Contemporaneity? Sámi Building in Nordic Architectural Discourse”, in Joar Nango, ed. Axel Wieder (London: Sternberg Press, 2023, forthcoming).

Co-authored with Samuel Singler, “Peripheral Parliament: Sovereignty, Collective Rights, and Political Representation in the Sámi Parliament of Finland,” in Parliament Buildings: The Architecture of Politics in Europe, ed. Sophia Psarra, Claudia Sternberg and Uta Staiger (London: UCL Press, 2023), pp. 391–406.

“Constructing Country, Community and City: Alvar Aalto’s Cross of the Plains (1951–66),” in Territories of Faith: Religion, Urban Planning and Demographic Change in Post-War Europe, 1945–75, ed. Sven Sterken and Eva Weyns (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2022), pp. 95–122.

“Città dei Morti: On Alvar Aalto’s Unrealised Funerary Architecture,” in Modern Architecture and the Sacred: Religious Legacies and Spiritual Renewal, ed. Ross Anderson and Maximilian Sternberg (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), pp. 73–88.



“Melancholy Medicine: Remedying the Excess Optimism of Contemporary Renderings,” OASE Journal of Architecture, 114 (2023): 77–89.

“Review: Arkkitehti Elissa Aalto / Architect Elissa Aalto,” Architecture Research Quarterly, 27, no. 1 (2023): 73–78.

“Discourses on Dogma: Alvar Aalto and the Church,” Finnish Architectural Review, 118, no. 3 (2021): 28–35.

Teaching and Supervisions


Dr Singler lectures and supervises widely across the Architecture Tripos, particularly for historical-theoretical papers, and supervises MArch and MAUS students. She also teaches research methods to graduate students and serves as a tutor and examiner for the MSt Apprenticeship in Architecture.

Assistant Professor of Architecture
Fellow and College Lecturer in Architecture, St John’s College