Alajärvi Youth Association Building
In his Otaniemi Campus plan Alvar Aalto designed the main building of Helsinki University of Technology to stand on the spot of the old manor house, on top of a small hill surrounded by a park. The first part of the main building was completed in 1964 and became one of Aalto’s most iconic works.
The building took on a new role when three universities – Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and University of Art and Design – were merged as Aalto University. Renovating such a prestigious landmark was a challenge. The goal of the project was to bring the building up to modern-day standards with barrier-free access and flexible educational spaces, which was difficult without altering the original concept. The building needed new HVAC systems and safety exits for which no space was allocated in the original plan.
The architects have done exemplary work in finding a tailored solution. The façades, spatial logic and detailing were fully preserved, with the entrance hall, auditorium and main corridors superbly restored to their former glory. The workroom wings underwent heavier modifications. The architects preserved the most valuable features of the architecture in a logical hierarchy. They did excellent work in reconciling artistic aspirations and the needs of various user groups in this ambitious renovation project.
Source: Finnish Architecture Biennial Review 2016 catalogue.