Otaniemi becoming a versatile urban area
– Developing Otaniemi from a technology campus to an engine of culture and business on a broader scale is a great opportunity for the Metropolitan Area and Finland as a whole, says Antti Ahlava, a new vice president responsible for campus development at Aalto University. He has taken action and started an integrating development process with other operators in the area.
- Our goal is to enhance proximity and cooperation in learning, research, business, and among residents in the area. Cooperation and sharing resources with others outside the university is essential in terms of developing the social environment, Ahlava adds.
The essential characteristics of the historical core of Otaniemi will be preserved in the development of the campus.
– The goal is to build a more versatile, denser city with some variety in the streets, space for pedestrians and cyclists, open buildings on the ground level and mixed functions and users. We hope to see a lot of businesses and residents coming into the area, Antti Ahlava envisions.
A future view of Otaniemi by Verstas Architects. The new building is on the right, and Otakaari 1 in the background.
Otakaari 1 renovated for students
The Otakaari 1 building, the old main building of the Helsinki University of Technology, has been thoroughly renovated. The final stages of the renovation will be completed during the summer. The building will become the university’s centre for bachelor’s degree studies, also hosting bachelor’s degree students from the School of Business as of next autumn, when students will move there from Töölö.
New concepts of space have systematically been created both in Otakaari 1 and elsewhere on the campus. The university has piloted future learning spaces by already opening about 20 user-centred learning hubs and other spaces for group work and for individual learning.
Construction of Väre to begin
The first stage in designing the building for the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, to be built on the Aalto University metro station, is proceeding on schedule. The Väre proposal by Verstas Architects won the architectural competition held for the building. Due to a delay in the modification of the zoning scheme, construction has not yet begun. The first stage of the building is estimated to be complete by the end of 2017.
– In between the new building and the metro station, there will be a small, new shopping centre, owned by the university, also including plans for business premises with a distinctive concept, Ahlava reveals.
Library becoming a learning centre and Dipoli becoming the main building
The Otaniemi branch of the Aalto University Library will be renovated this summer. After the renovation, the library will become a contemporary learning centre with a variety of spaces for students’ independent activities.
The traditional Dipoli building in Otaniemi changed owners from the students' union to Aalto University last summer, and its renovation will begin in summer 2015. The new Dipoli will become the main building of the entire Aalto University, with flexible spaces for an extraordinary array of work and leisure activities.
For Antti Ahlava, art is an important part of a living urban environment.
– The plan is to place a lot of artwork in Otaniemi and to unleash contemporary art forms and means of expression. As for its funding, we have thought about a square metre based share of renovations and new construction, Ahlava outlines.
Architect Antti Ahlava (D. A.) began in his position as vice president responsible for the development of the Aalto University campus on 1 October 2014. Ahlava is currently Professor of Emergent Design Methodologies and he is the former head of the Department of Architecture.
Photo of Antti Ahlava: Aalto University, Mikko Raskinen