Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2015 - Page 33

terised by Alvar Aalto’s red-brick architecture. The main entrance to the metro station will be situated on the west side of Otaniementie, opposite Aalto University’s main building, which will be immediately visible upon leaving the station. The metro will connect Aalto University’s main campus to the Helsinki campus with a metro ride of about 11 minutes which is good news for the students – and sure to re-energise the mass transport scene of the area. According to calculations, the daily number of passengers at the Aalto metro station will be around 10,000. Making Waves Dubbed as the “innovation university”, Aalto is the perfect example of the type of collaboration between business, hi-tech and design that the Innovation Triangle is all about. Established in 2010, the Aalto University was created from the merger of three Finnish universities: The Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and The University of Art and Design Helsinki. With engineering students as the anchor at Otaniemi, also the design and business students are joining them on the transformed campus grounds. In October 2013, a winner was declared in the open international architectural design competition Campus 2015 which was arranged by Aalto University Properties Ltd. The competition jury selected the entry ‘Väre’, designed by the Finnish firm Verstas Architects, as the first prize winner. According to the jury, this scheme most successfully solved the challenges and conflicting demands of the competition – since the original campus area is designed by Alvar Aalto himself, not just any proposal will do for this key area. Young Voices Heard In more recent news, the City of Espoo decided in October 2014 to award the design of the user experience at the Aalto metro station to a team of students on the PdP course at Aalto University. The aim here is to give people using the Aalto University station “an innovative and exhilarating experience”. The team of students on the Product Development Project (PdP) comprises 11 students from different sectors, representing eight nationalities and four continents. The Aalto University metro station is, naturally, an important entrance to Otaniemi. The task set by the City is to create a genuine urban centre at the station and to utilise innovative solutions in order to promote an emission-free campus. Beyond the university campus, lies the “Silicon Valley of the North”: Otaniemi is the largest cluster of high technology in Northern Europe, representing the entire chain of innovation from education and research to startup companies and knowledge-intensive service businesses. This community includes 16,000 hi-tech profes- sionals working in research organisations and technology companies. The European Commission has twice selected Otaniemi among the most innovative areas in Europe. Keilaniemi: Still Aiming High In addition to the metro line, also the covering of Ring Road I with a “green deck” construction will bring the three areas closer to each other. Within a year or so, Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Tapiola will be combined into a single, strongly developing area where it is extremely easy to move around. During the next ten years, about five billion euros of public and private funds will be invested in the area. Turning our attention to Keilaniemi for a moment, it is easy to see why the area is the corporate engine for the entire country. High-rise buildings are pretty much the norm here – with headquarters of such companies as Kone, Fortum and Microsoft in attendance. The hi-tech corporate neighbourhood is waiting for the metroline to make the lives of the employees easier, but the metro extension is expected to spark residential construction as well. According to the master plan, Keilaniemi will eventually feature four housing towers with 27–35 storeys each, reaching as high as 100 metres. The area in question will include almost 80,000 square metres of residential building volume, and will add a completely new element to the area, revitalising also the shoreline with activities and services. Photo: SARC Architects Nordicum 31