Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2014 - Page 30

Photos: Verstas Architects According to the jury, this scheme most successfully solved the challenges and conflicting demands of the competition. The jury described Väre as a strong and convincing entry, which has been developed positively and has managed to answer most of the queries posed by the jury after the results from the first phase of the competition. Tribute to the Master The layout offers its own structural DNA matrix as the organising principle for the new buildings; it forms this pattern based on two of the principal coordinates taken from the nearby old main building of the former Helsinki University of Technology and the main library, which were designed by legendary Alvar Aalto himself. According to the jury, the winner’s approach is fresh: the simple basic module produces a convincing variety of spatial arrangements, and it is adaptable and flexible but with a clear and distinct architectural character. The spatial concept has also found a fitting form, in which users move from the general public areas upwards towards more private and intimate places or from interdisciplinary to more specialised activities, a mode of operation completely in tune with the expressed aims of the university. President Tuula Teeri from Aalto University comments that Aalto, as a new university, wants to pay respect to the originality of all the founding schools as it sets out to build the central campus in Otaniemi. “The winning entry reflects well our shared values and respects the existing environment, while it also has a clear vision of what the future university will look like,” says Teeri. The new building and its surroundings are examined as part of the university’s broader campus programme, with a goal to strengthen the operational preconditions for research, artistic activity and teaching. Beyond Campus As the heart of Otaniemi is re-energised, there is action elsewhere, too – for example, residential construction will be kicked off in southern Otaniemi, says Olavi Louko, Deputy Mayor for the City of Espoo. “The development of Otaniemi is just getting started,” says Louko. “The introduction of metro to the area will provide many opportunities here also.” There is also a great platform to build on: at present, Otaniemi is the biggest hitech hub in Northern Europe with its 32,000 people and 800 companies – meaning, for example, that students don’t have to look very far for jobs. In fact, more and more of them are starting their own companies while still in school. Otaniemi creates between 40 to 70 new start-ups every year, pumping new blood in28 Nordicum Väre – a winner of the open international architectural design competion Campu