A new home for Finland’s largest business school
Verstas create welcoming space at Aalto University
Finland’s School of Business, the former Helsinki School of Economics, has opened in new premises at the Aalto University campus in Espoo. The €40m custom built structure was designed by Verstas Architects, alumni of the University, who won an international design competition in 2013 for an entire block of buildings in the area. Besides the business school, the contest included the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, a shopping centre and a new entrance to the Otaniemi metro station. The brief invited designers to submit concepts befitting the iconic functionalist campus, a national scenic area originally planned in the 1940s by architects Aino and Alvar Aalto.
The new building features a restaurant, café and teaching premises on the ground floor, with three upper levels containing further teaching facilities, a learning hub for students, meeting space, and offices for faculty and staff. While the building follows the same principles as the existing campus architecture, it was created in close collaboration with the quality-conscious occupants, who required a modern and flexible environment. Learning areas include traditional auditoriums as well as project spaces and lounges for independent work and casual meetings. The interior materials of limestone for the floors and oak for walls, ceilings and floors are intended to create a welcoming and dignified atmosphere.
The move means that for the first time in almost 50 years, all six business school departments will be located under one roof, allowing collaboration between different disciplines. Communication will also be improved between other faculties on the campus, following the vision of Aalto University to bring design, technology and business together.
Ingmar Björkman, the Dean of the University School of Business, stated: ‘Now, Master's students can also complete multidisciplinary studies more easily, and our new environment creates good conditions for interdisciplinary research collaboration. The Otaniemi campus also offers excellent opportunities for our students, for example, to become entrepreneurs.’ Perttu Kähäri, development manager of the business school, agreed, saying: "Now it really feels like we are part of the Aalto community, because we are located right here in the centre of everything. It is a very big motivator.”
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This competition was first published by TenderStream on 13.04.2012 here
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