Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 45

Photo: Esa Ahdevaara / GSS Lucky-Design as a Service’ (BaaS), where you focus on service and activity instead of bricks and mortar. Aalto, with its real estate assets and research prowess, is in a unique position to push BaaS onward. Face the Future There are already signals out here that something like BaaS could well be the way of the future. In the USA, for instance, the amount of people who are using co-working solutions has hit 3.5 million. “That figure has actually doubled every year since 2006,” Ahlava reveals. When people opt for cost-effective, modern space, they increasingly choose co-working. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: Ahlava believes that in the next phase, companies will fully embrace BaaS and it will become a permanent part of their operative strategy. “This is the more radical step, since it involves re-evaluating each and every part of the company’s operations. Once that is done, however, there’s so much you can achieve.” Open Up the Campus (From left to right) Antti Tuomela, Managing Director for ACRE and Antti Ahlava, Vice President at Aalto University. little – but the corporate angle here is this: the University has an extra 100,000 square metres that it’s leasing out. Already, clusters are being born: bio, health, design, media, games, Industrial Internet…birds of the feather do flock together, and there’s versatile space here to make it happen. “We want to introduce a little bit of disruption into real estate development – you don’t always have to do things the same old way,” Ahlava says. What the Vice President has in mind is a concept called ‘Building Traditionally, in academic campuses, there are areas which are accessible and those that are off-limits – and Ahlava and Tuomela feel that, in the past, those STOP signs have gone up way too easily. In a modern campus, you could have floor-level access to just about any building on campus – if extra security is needed, for instance, the upper floors could be deployed for that purpose. The two Anttis question the need for excessive restrictions, since innovations rarely grow in a vacuum. “This change is not something we aim to do one building at a time; it is the entire campus environment that needs to be finetuned to fit this concept,” Ahlava says. According to Ahlava, the evolution of buildings has advanced from industrial buildings to smart buildings – but the “human” aspect of it all is still largely unexplored. “With ‘Human Buildings’, we have a situation where people are co-creating value in the real estate context.” Rock the Factory A great example of this is Aalto’s Design Factory concept. Antti Tuomela points out that Design Factory, located on campus, has become the “place to be” on the strength of the ideas brimming within the factory walls. “It’s the content and the whole ideology which resonates very strongly with students, companies and also the international visitors – and that buzz keeps attracting more and more people.” Add to this, the fact that Aalto University almost singlehandedly launched the new “Startup Era” in Finland; now, entrepreneurs are the “new rock stars” and the talk around the campus is decidedly business-minded. “We have students here that are not afraid to push the envelope and they are challenging also us to keep innovating,” Tuomela says, while sounding not one bit disappointed. Campus on the Move A key component in the upcoming plans is the new metro station – to be launched in August 2016 – which connects the Otaniemi Campus to downtown Helsinki, and beyond. And as the university is pulling all the stops to create a world-class campus, there will be an ambitious hallmark building leading the way. Having won a tough international architectural contest, the competition entry Väre (designed by Finnish agency Verstas Architects) provides the unique solution the university was looking for all along – emphasising interaction and true dialogue in an unprecedented way. In addition to the new building – which will open its doors in 2018 – there will be a small shopping centre (7,000 sqm), as well, linking with the metro station. Ahlava and Tuomela point out that the university is committed to raising new buildings as well as upgrading existing assets. With regards to rental premises, Tuomela promises that the real estate portfolio will be “aggressively developed”. “We are looking to realise premises that really boost companies’ business,” Tuomela says, while adding that the university is also in search of quality partners to ensure the best possible outcome. Living It Up A big part of this emerging ecosystem is the residential element. According to the plans, Otaniemi could encompass as much as 75,000 square metres of residential space in the coming years. “We have room for 10,000 residents here,” Tuomela confirms. Ahlava and Tuomela believe that combining the academic, corporate and residential is also something that the old maestro, Alvar Aalto himself, would have appreciated. “We have both versatility and flexibility here – all located in a beautiful setting close to the nature,” Ahlava says. Aalto wants to “go green” in environmental issues, as well. The campus has its own Smart Traffic Programme and an experimental geo-thermal superheating system