The entrance hall of the new Dipoli will present the activities of the university, draft.
Image: ALA Architects
Over the years, the traditional but individual Dipoli building has served as a venue for countless seminars, conferences, student events and festivities. Now the building is to undergo a major renovation: all the facilities and technical systems will be modernised, and the use of the building will also change. Dipoli will be turned into a showcase for Aalto, a gateway providing everyone access to Otaniemi. It will become the unique main building for the university where the university management and some of the service staff will work.
Dipoli was originally designed by architects Reima and Raili Pietilä and built in 1966. In its time, Dipoli was a very radical design. The building project was commissioned by the students of Helsinki University of Technology, and the completed building was the hub of their cultural activities for a long time. Aalto University rented the building from Aalto University Student Union for several years, and the building has been home to the Dipoli Congress Centre. A year ago, Aalto University bought Dipoli from the student union.
The tiered seating of the Dipoli auditorium rises above the stage level. In the early days of the building, the auditorium was called ‘the theatre hall’ and used as a venue for showing films, among other things. The auditorium is the only space where the building's original terrazzo floor and fixed furniture have been preserved. In the photo participants of the NEWRAD conference in 2014.
Photo: Aino Huovio
The modernisation began in June 2015 and the aim is that the new and improved Dipoli will be in use in late 2016. The project will respect Reima and Raili Pietilä's original design and aim at restoring the unique architecture of the building.
Ideas for the design of the new main building were generated in workshops held in autumn 2014 for students, staff and stakeholders. They have been developed into new concepts and services and documented in a Dipoli renewing (pdf). A project plan for the modernisation, a building history survey (Dipoli rakennushistoriaselvitys, available in Finnish) and two student projects were also carried out.
Versatile and interactive symbol of university culture at Aalto
Multidisciplinary cooperation and societal interaction are at the core of Aalto University's mission. After the renovation, Dipoli will be a new kind of multi-purpose building and a test bed for new ways of working and learning. All the offices and work spaces of the building will be shared. Dipoli will become a stage for encounters and events for students, the university and its partners. Also, an entirely new kind of digital environment and navigation system are being planned for the building
- We will provide the users of the building with an entirely new service and space experience, and the activities of the university will be presented in the entrance halls and other spaces in various ways Dipoli will become an active user interface providing access to Aalto University, envisions President Tuula Teeri, who was also the chair of the steering group for the project.