Aalto University’s New Campus Building
Aalto University’s new campus complex in Otaniemi, Espoo, comprises the School of Arts, Design and Architecture’s new building, Väre, alongside the School of Business building and the A Bloc shopping centre. The development is based on a winning design from 2013 by Verstas Architects. The richness of the spatial composition and the diverse massing that sees the development’s form articulated as a series of “buildings within buildings” allows this large structure to settle effortlessly into its wider context. Internally, the diverse spaces located at the intersections between the building masses facilitate social and other encounters and lend themselves to a range of multi-disciplinary uses.
Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo ja Andreas Meichsner
- Architectural design: Verstas Arkkitehdit Oy / Jussi Palva, Väinö Nikkilä, Riina Palva, Ilkka Salminen
- Client: Aalto-yliopistokiinteistöt Oy
- Main contractor: SRV-rakennus Oy
- Location: Helsinki
- Programme: 45 400 m2
- Year of completion: 2019
STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY
A new campus complex was recently completed at Helsinki’s Aalto University. Comprising
the School of Arts, Design and Architecture’s new building, titled Väre, the School of
Business building, and the A Bloc shopping centre, the development is based on a winning
design from 2013 by Verstas Architects.
Along with the Aalto Library and the historic Helsinki University of Technology main building,
it creates the first genuinely urban square within the heart of the campus, still defined by
Alvar Aalto’s iconic structure. With a spatial composition characterised by its rich materiality
and a form that is articulated as a series of “buildings within buildings”, this large structure
settles effortlessly into its wider context. The design team’s dynamic approach to massing
takes its cue from the surrounding buildings, creating a village-like feel. The use of brick and
glass for the facade resonates with the distinctive and restrained choice of materials that
already marks the Otaniemi aesthetic.
Internally, the diverse spaces located at the intersections between the building masses
facilitate social and other encounters and lend themselves to a range of multi-disciplinary
uses. The distinct identities that set apart the university’s different schools are also apparent
in the interiors and the materials employed here. The materials and geometries found at the
School of Business accurately reflect the occupant’s wider brand image, while at Väre, the
school’s enduring commitment to excellence in craftsmanship is apparent in the basement
and ground floor workshops, their glass walls offering unimpeded views of the passageways
that cut across the building. Väre represents the architecture of possibility; a flexible,
versatile space that allows for adaptation and change.