Otaniemi campus to develop into a lively neighbourhood
The Otaniemi campus area was established in 1949, when the State purchased land for the future location of the Helsinki University of Technology and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The street plan for the area was designed by architect Alvar Aalto. The first part built in 1952 was Teekkarikylä (the student union’s housing area), which also served as accommodation for athletes during the Helsinki Olympics that same year.
Together with the City of Espoo, an environment that supports interaction is being built in Otaniemi for research, innovations, learning and the arts. The goal of campus development is a mixture of valuable history and new kind of planning.
The aim of campus development is not only to construct additional buildings, but to add various alternatives for vitalising the Otaniemi area and to give a home to the innovative Aalto community. Image: SLA
Traditionally, university campuses have been divided into different buildings according to school. Aalto campus’ facilities have instead been divided according to the emphasis of research to better support multidisciplinary co-operation.
In Otaniemi of the future, work, living, and services in the residential area link up in a unique way. The number of jobs and residential buildings will increase, and transit connections will improve with the introduction of the metro and high-speed tram rails. The region tries new functional solutions and the creative common use of spaces for the needs of different user groups.
Core of campus complete
Bachelor’s degree programmes at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture moved to the Otaniemi campus in 2015. All of the departments at School of Arts, Design and Architecture moved to the newly completed Väre building in summer 2018. The activities of School of Business will move in their entirety in February 2019 to the school’s new main building currently being built in Otaniemi, adjacent to Väre.
The university’s activities and the area’s commercial services create as campus centre that is also a transport connection point. The new buildings for the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and the School of Business as well as the A Bloc shopping centre are ready or nearing completion, all located at the core of the campus.
The block formed by Väre, the School of Business and A Bloc is based on a proposal named Väre, which Vertas Architects submitted to an architectural competition held from 2012 to 2013. The block that forms the heart of the campus will be a lively and coherent entity, which will nonetheless be based on the interactions and multidisciplinary activities facilitated by the easy to mould spaces.
Aalto’s partners will base their operations in the Innovation Hub, surrounding the neighbourhood. The newest example of co-operation is A Grid, which is located in a renovated building that formerly housed the School of Electrical Engineering.