About

Category
Educational buildings
Architect
Aarne Ervi
Selections
Helsinki built through competitions
Tags
competition concrete Helsinki lecture hall modernism prefabrication
Gross area (m²)
20700
Competition
1950
Completion
1957

Porthania is part of the city centre campus of the University of Helsinki. The building is based on Aarne Ervi’s winning entry in an open architectural competition held in 1949. The building comprises five big lecture halls, the biggest of which seats 650, and several smaller lecture halls and other teaching facilities, as well as a restaurant, a gym and healthcare facilities for students to use.

The modernistic Porthania Building involved innovative and experimental solutions, such as the use of prefabricated elements and pre-stressed concrete beams. The long spans enabled flexible positioning of the partitions, allowing users to adapt spaces for future needs.

Early on in his career, Ervi had worked as an assistant to Alvar Aalto, and reflections of Aalto’s works may be seen in Porthania, such as the circular skylights of the lecture halls. The interior and furniture design are also by Ervi and his office, thus creating a Gesamtkunstwerk of the entity.

Restoration of the building by NRT Architects was completed in 2006.

Location

Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki
60.1699553, 24.9483891

Images

Porthania in the 1950s., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Porthania in the 1950s., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Eero Troberg / MFA)
Porthania in the 1950s., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Porthania in the 1950s., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Roos / MFA)
Main staircase in 1957., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Main staircase in 1957., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© MFA)
View towards student restaurant, main entrance to the left., Helsinki University Porthania Building
View towards student restaurant, main entrance to the left., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Jussi Tiainen / NRT Architects )
Entrance lobby with lifts., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Entrance lobby with lifts., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Jussi Tiainen / NRT Architects )
Student restaurant., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Student restaurant., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Jussi Tiainen / NRT Architects )
Entrance lobby., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Entrance lobby., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Jussi Tiainen / NRT Architects )
Main staircase., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Main staircase., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Jussi Tiainen / NRT Architects )
Scale model., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Scale model., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© Foto Roos / MFA )
Ground floor plan., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Ground floor plan., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© MFA)
Axonometric drawing., Helsinki University Porthania Building
Axonometric drawing., Helsinki University Porthania Building (© MFA)