Lappeenranta City Theatre
Dipoli – designed for the Student Union of the Helsinki University of Technology by Raili and Reima Pietilä – was originally divided into two separate sections. The “abstract” side housed the main public facilities while the rectangular wing was reserved for office use. The building is both an organic entity integrally connected to the surrounding natural environment and a man-made spatial installation. Controversial at the time of its inauguration, it has since gained the respect of the architectural community.
The unique student hub has now re-established itself as the new main building of Aalto University. The jury for Finnish Architecture Review 2018 selected the restoration and conversion due to the change of use, executed by ALA Architects, as one of the recent highlights of Finnish architectural restoration.
In its new life some of the free-form spaces had to be allocated for administrative facilities. ALA Architects resolved this conflict with ingenuity. The new technical facilities adjoining the office spaces are housed in black cubes that punctuate the fluid spaces like exclamation marks. The cubes can be accepted as temporary additions that can be removed one day without defacing the original architecture.
Dipoli was selected in the Finnish Architecture Biennial Review 2018. Extract from the jury report:
“Dipoli has retained its special character. The restoration team has managed to reawaken the original atmosphere of the building by accenting the contrast between different functional spaces. The interiors offer a multi-sensory experience.”