Devon Osborne

1983, Australia

Uusi yliopisto / Brand New University

This project proposes a design for the new campus centre for the Aalto University. Following the merging of the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design Helsinki and the Helsinki University of Technology into the new Aalto University, the problem of how the new university should physically manifest itself arose. This project looks at the design of the new campus centre following various studies into the political and urban situations surrounding the merger and the most likely site of the new university; Otaniemi – a culturally significant urban environment, designed by world famous modernist architect ¬Alvar Aalto.

The proposal aims to provide new collaborative work spaces and shared facilities that while creating something new, co-exists respectfully with the Aalto site and addresses the problems associated with the merger, such as ownership, identity between the individual institutions, branding and transportation. Taking into account the new extension of the metro line to Western Helsinki, the design uses the Otaniemi metro station as an important transitioning device and program within the complex and not just as an independent piece of infrastructure. The complex becomes the new gateway to Otaniemi via the metro station making Otaniemi more accessible to the public, and remains open and spacious. The new building frames key moments within the existing Otaniemi campus, such as the iconic Technology University Main Auditorium and the Library, so that new visually embraces the old.

Utilising a habitable landscape roof to both umbrella the individual schools and help integrate the form and program of the new campus centre into the existing Otaniemi site. The design blurs the clear division of both internal institution spaces, and the private and public spaces with its organic and continuous flowing form. So that programs and spaces intertwine with one another, reflecting the collaborative nature of the new Aalto University. Whilst the powerful impact the visual language of the building evokes is about creating an iconic emblem for the new university; A NEW BUILDING FOR A NEW INSTITUTION.

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