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Aalto University School of Art and Design, Finland

View of main entrance approach

View of learning center with courtyard beyond

Context map

Site plan

Aerial view

Parking level plan

Ground floor plan

First floor plan

Second floor plan

Third, fourth, and fifth floor plan

Section/Elevation study



Heating Diagram

Cooling Diagram

View of main entrance

View of restaurant interior

View of west entrance

As the campus at Aalto University transitions from a widespread collection of independent academic buildings to a car-free, pedestrian-friendly, cross-disciplinary campus, a new planning model is needed that increases density while retaining open space and creating new opportunities for interaction between academic disciplines, students and faculty.

By combining the academic departments under one roof, students and faculty will benefit from exposure to other disciplines while spaces, infrastructure and utilities can be shared to make them more energy and use-efficient.

The different creative disciplines of arts, design and architecture blur between one another, sharing ideas, techniques and technology. These disciplines can be arranged in a circle, seamlessly blending from one to another. In order to increase academic interaction, the ring is twisted over on itself creating three courtyards as well as a central atrium space that facilitates interaction between disciplines.

“an interwoven combination of elements in a system” becomes the organizing model for the building. Plexus engages the adjacent campus buildings to create indoor and outdoor social gathering spaces. At the campus scale, the building defines new open spaces to the east, north and south of the central site, each with its own character and programming.

The new building ascends to the same height as the lecture hall of the former main building to form a dialogue with Aalto’s iconic building. This ‘gateway’ space created between the buildings will be seen against the skyline of Otaniemi. A restaurant, located at the peak of the building, provides a panoramic view of Old Main, and the greater Aalto University campus.

Competition entry 2012

Project Team: Tim Bade, Jane Stageberg, Martin Cox, Andrew Skey, Jessica Rivera Bandler, Chris Gardner, Alex Crean