Alvar Aalto's signature building has been renovated
The most visible building of the Otaniemi campus of Aalto University at Otakaari 1 has undergone a major renovation. The endeavour, which took several years and progressed in phases, shaped the highly regarded building into the Undergraduate Centre supporting today's learning and working.
Bringing together students from different fields
The building serves as a kind of base for thousands of Bachelor students at Aalto University from the fields of technology, business and arts and design. Bachelor students of the School of Business transferred to conduct their studies in Otaniemi this autumn, while the Master students continue working in Töölö.
The renovated Undergraduate Centre was previously the main building of the Helsinki University of Technology. The fan-like structure, which functions as the roof of two large lecture halls in the building, is the most impressive feature of the building. Photo: Aalto University/Aino Huovio
The Otakaari 1 building was introduced in 1964 and its oldest section was designed by Alvar Aalto. An extension, the U wing completed in 1975, was designed by Elissa Aalto. The solutions of the renovation were developed with respect to the original architecture and cultural history values in cooperation with the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the National Board of Antiquities. In connection with the renovation, several museum rooms still containing the original furnishings by Aalto were left in the building.
Facilities supporting learning
Particular attention was paid in the renovation to the multi-functionality and transformability of the facilities, as well as solutions supporting learning and knowledge work. Those using the spaces were given an opportunity to participate in conceptualising and designing the spaces.
Facilities on five floors have been renovated for the Bachelor students of the School of Business. Pictured lecture hall U7. Photo:Aalto University/Tuomas Uusheimo
In addition to lecture rooms, the Undergraduate Centre includes spaces for group assignments and more informal activities. Services required by students have also been placed in the building, and, for example language teachers and other staff of Learning Services at Aalto University work in the building in a new type of a large, multifunctional office.
Aalto University Otaniemi Campus Library provides its services as the new Learning Center beta in the building's A wing while the original library building is undergoing renovations until the end of the year 2016.
The extent of the renovation was approximately 45 000 m2, the main designer was NRT Architects Ltd and the main contractor was NCC Construction Ltd.
The fine architecture of the Aalto Hall showcases Alvar Aalto at his best.Photo: Aalto University/Marc Goodwin