Marsio - the obvious choice

Without knowing each other, Aalto University alumni Ville Alasalmi and Hanna Salmi participated in the building name competition published in spring 2022 with the same proposal. The new name of the Otakaari 2A building, Marsio, was announced in conjunction with the foundation stone laying ceremony in autumn 2022, but what is behind the name?
A man and woman in casual wear, dark tones, smiling at the camera inside the Aalto Hall.
Ville Alasalmi (left) and Hanna Salmi in Aalto Hall (Undergraduate Centre) during the foundation laying ceremony. Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

'This was a clear choice', says Hanna Salmi, who proposed the name Marsio as the name of the Otakaari 2A building to be built on the Otaniemi campus of Aalto University.

In the spring of 2022, for the first time, Aalto University organised a name competition open to everyone for a new building. The winning name proposal was made by Aalto alumni Ville Alasalmi and Hanna Salmi without knowing each other. Both wanted to highlight Aino Marsio-Aalto.

'I had just seen Virpi Suutari's Aalto documentary, in which Aino's story and role, as well as Aino and Alvar Aalto's life as a couple, were brought out much more strongly. I remembered it. Then when the competition was announced, I thought that if there was a name I could join Aino. But the Aino name had already been used on campus and in the surrounding areas', says Alasalmi.

Makes sense and not too difficult to pronounce

'The building will be built in part on Ainonaukio square, which was named in 2008 as part of the 100th anniversary of the former University of Technology. Aino was amazing in her time. For example, quite a few people were able to educate themselves so far that they were able to travel abroad', says Salmi.

'Then I remembered the Marsio surname, as Aino kept her own name side-by-side with Aalto, even though it was not common at the time. Marsio is a word suitable for the building. In a way, it's a Finnish word, but it doesn't directly mean anything that people would associate with', says Alasalmi.

Following Marsio-Aalto's example, the Marsio building offers a place for radical creativity, experimentation and new thinking. The building offers a view of the university's research, teaching and influence. In addition to the facilities serving Aalto University, there will be space for restaurant and event service operators, as well as a visitor centre for university visitors.

The idea was that the building's future name would reflect these characteristics. The ideal name would be monolingual and easy to pronounce.

'Just like Ville, I thought about what other options there were besides Aino. Marsio is reasonable, and it's not too difficult internationally,' says Salmi.

Marsio - only limited by imagination

The name was announced at the joint groundbreaking ceremony of the Marsio building and its sister building on 29 September 2022. The construction of two new buildings in the middle of the Otaniemi campus began this February 2022. Marsio (Otakaari 2A) and Otakaari 2B are scheduled to be completed during the years 2023–2024.

About 6,500 m2 of top-class multipurpose space will be completed in Marsio, especially for art and media teaching, cross-disciplinary research, various events and a new studio center. Otakaari 2B will be a building focused on research, with facilities especially for the use of the School of Sciences and the School of Electrical Engineering. The new building brings significantly more research, teaching and office space for, among other things, experimental research in technical physics. The naming of Otakaari 2B will be announced later.

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Illustration image depicting what Otakaari 2 could look like, people walking and cycling near Otakaari and Maarintie, man with sunglasses looks to the viewer, its sunny and there's an event in the corner of the building

Otakaari 2: Marsio and Kide

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Illustration image on a sunny day as the sun is setting, of Otakaari 2A, the lights in the building are lit and there are blurry images of people walking around. Grass and trees are green.

The new Marsio building is a showcase for research, teaching and impact at Aalto University

The name was selected through a contest, and it is a tribute to Aino Marsio-Aalto.

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