Aalto University Väre Building

The large new building is carefully adapted to the scale of the Otaniemi campus that is world-famous for mid-20th century functionalist architecture. The iconic old main building designed by Alvar and Elissa Aalto, today the Underground Centre, remains the landmark of the campus.
Väre forms a new, central square with the old main buildings at the core of the campus.
The new square is the focal point of Aalto Campus. It brings together new and old university builsings, the entrance to an underground station and retail spaces.
The organizing principle for the new premises is a structural matrix based on two principal coordinates of Alvar Aalto's main building and library.
The main lobby extends through the building and connects different levels.
Wood highlights the central spatial sequence.*
The main lobby descends from the new square to the park.
Adaptable and flexible learning spaces are arranged around sky-lit atriums. Workshops are on the ground floor, meeting areas and project spaces above.
Sculptural, patinated steel stairs cross the atriums as a contrast to the neutral colours of the study areas.
The glass walls of the workshops reveal the creative activity in the building.
The workshops for different design disciplines are all located on the ground floor, and are visible to the park or the public lobby.
Clad in sturdy red brick and light printed glass, the building complements Alvar Aalto's original Otaniemi campus.*
The varying heights of building volumes create an impression of a compact cluster of small buildings.
The complex includes retail spaces, located between the underground station and the university, by the square.

Aalto University Väre Building

Description:

The new Aalto University Väre Building is the focal point of Aalto Campus in Otaniemi. The campus was planned originally for Helsinki University of Technology by architect Alvar Aalto and is internationally known for the 20th century functionalist architecture. Together with the most prominent buildings by Aalto, Väre building forms a new square at the very core of the campus and combines university premises an underground station and retail spaces. Väre is the home for The School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and a part of a new complex that includes The School of Business, A Bloc shopping centre and outdoor spaces, all designed by Verstas.

The organizing principle for the new premises is a structural matrix formed of the two principal coordinates of Alvar Aalto’s main building and library. The varying heights of building volumes create an impression of a compact cluster of small buildings. Clad in red brick and printed glass, the new building complements Alvar Aalto’s original Otaniemi campus.

The public main lobby, the shopping centre and underground station open towards the plaza, the key new social space that enlivens the campus. The main lobby extends through the building and connects the different levels. Learning facilities are nested in two clusters, each arranged around an atrium, producing a wide variety of flexible spatial combinations. Spaces in Väre are arranged more according to the type of use rather than the discipline. Different kinds of workshops are all on the ground floor, with views to the park. Lively meeting areas and interdisciplinary project spaces are on the second level and spaces for concentrated study and research are on the upper floors.

Related projects:
Otaniemi central campus
Aalto University School of Business
Otaniemi shopping centre

Status:

Open competition, 1st prize, 2013. Completed 2018.

Program:

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture,
26800m2

Location:

Otaniementie 14, Otaniemi, Espoo, Finland

Client:

ACRE Aalto University Campus & Real Estate

Photographs:

Andreas Meichsner and Tuomas Uusheimo (marked with *)

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