The Aalto University Väre Building is the new home of the Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture and the School of Business. Väre, which means ripple or glimmer in English, brings together the schools of design and business in a globally unique way. It is situated in the Otaniemi campus in Espoo, Finland, world-famous of its modernist architecture, and introduces a significant new dynamic to the campus. The Väre building plays a key role both in the transformation of the Aalto University, a merger of earlier universities of business, arts and design and technical sciences, and in the densification and diversification of the Otaniemi district as a part of the growing Finnish metropolitan region. The architectural design is based on the winning entry in an open international competition in two stages organized in 2012-2013.
▼Väre大楼与校园广场，The new square and the Väre building ©Andreas Meichsner
The Väre building is adjacent to the earlier main building and library designed by Alvar and Elissa Aalto in the 1960s. The project had therefore the added challenge of fitting into the context of highly respected modern master. Aino and Alvar Aalto laid out the whole original masterplan for the carefully landscaped campus in 1948. Väre is in a dialogue this composition, while it also changes the dynamic of the campus essentially.
▼从Väre大楼望向阿尔瓦·阿尔托和艾莉莎·阿尔托在1960年代设计的主楼，view to the earlier main building and library designed by Alvar and Elissa Aalto in the 1960s ©Andreas Meichsner
The design forms an entirely new central square that connects the old and new university buildings, an entrance to a new underground line and a shopping centre included in the Väre building. The 7,300 square meter shopping centre has restaurants, cafés, a gym and retail spaces. Thus, the new square and the Väre Building serves as a place of casual encounters and while it also provides a series of spaces for interdisciplinary interaction for 1,850 students and 350 employees.
▼从餐厅望向工作空间，view to the workshops from the restaurant ©Andreas Meichsner
▼首层平面图，ground floor plan
The layout and massing break the large volume of Väre into a cluster of smaller units helping it adapt to the context and scale of the park-like campus. The two principal facade alignments are derived from the old main buildings. The use of hand-laid red brick follows Aalto’s masterful treatment of the material while the use of glass patterned glass gives the building a contemporary expression.
▼手工铺砌的红砖和轻盈的印花玻璃形成对比，the building is clad in sturdy red brick and light printed glass ©Tuomas Uusheimo
▼主大厅空间，main lobby ©Andreas Meichsner
The building adapts the classic courtyard university typology to contemporary ways of learning and pedagogy. The spatial layout based on a lattice of simple project space units supports interaction and flexible use. The carefully planned spatial sequence unfolds with rooms arranged around sky-lit atriums that open views to all the floors and the stairs connecting them. Transparent walls reveal the creative action in the project spaces and the ground floor lobby is open to the public.
▼被天窗照亮的设计学院中庭空间，the sky-lit atrium in the School of design ©Andreas Meichsner
▼钢制楼梯，steel stairs ©Andreas Meichsner
▼木制元素强调出中庭的空间序列，Wood highlights the central spatial sequence ©Tuomas Uusheimo
▼商学院中庭空间，the atrium of the school of business ©Verstas Architects
Inside, wood surfaces highlight the flow of the spatial sequence through the building. The schools of design and business have their own characters. In the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the sculptural, self-supporting steel stairs stand out against a neutral backdrop. In the School of Business, limestone, oak and a warm metal colour create an ambiance that is both cozy and dignified.
▼教学空间围绕中庭分布，project spaces and classrooms are around an atrium ©Verstas Architects
limestone, oak and a warm metal colour create an ambiance that is both cozy and dignified ©Verstas Architects
The Väre Building is environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and water-saving. 200 bicycle parking places and changing rooms encourage cycling. Ground-source heat pump covers 90% of the heat consumption and roof-top solar panels around 6% of the electricity consumption. Ventilation is demand-controlled and has heat recovery. Lighting is controlled, too. Furthermore, 75% of the construction waste was recycled.
▼室内细部，interior detailed view ©Verstas Architects
▼工作空间，project space ©Andreas Meichsner
Aalto University is a merger of three earlier universities of engineering, design and business. They were merged to create a university that would foster new kind of talent and innovation. Our challenges were firstly, how to update the iconic functionalist campus and do it in the context of the work of Aalto and the national scenic area status the campus has. Secondly, how to unite the schools of design and business in the new building complex, while maintaining their identities, and thridly, how to foster new ways of learning and teaching, for example, learning with modern techonology, learning together and teaching in constantly changing programmes. Our solution to the challenges was repeating a simple, modfiable module, whose arrangement both creates social learning environments and adapts the large new building complex to the landscape of the campus.
▼建筑夜景，night view ©Andreas Meichsner
Project size: 45400 m2
Completion date: 2018
Project team: Verstas Architects
Photographs: Andreas Meichsner and Tuomas Uusheimo
More: Verstas Architects