A Flex­i­ble Workspace

Aalto Univer­sity Main Build­ing Dipoli, Fin­land

Architecture + Design - - Contents -

Dipoli, the listed iconic and ex­per­i­men­tal stu­dent union build­ing of Helsinki Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy de­signed by Raili and Reima Pi­etilä and com­pleted in 1966 has gone through a com­plete ren­o­va­tion and got­ten a new life as the main build­ing of Aalto Univer­sity.

The build­ing func­tions as a meet­ing place

for the univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tion, the aca­demic com­mu­nity, the stu­dents and other stake hold­ers. All of these par­ties have been ac­ti­vated in the spa­tial re- de­sign process that turned the build­ing into a sus­tain­able, flex­i­ble workspace of the fu­ture. In ad­di­tion to hous­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion, the project also func­tions as the

prime location for im­por­tant lec­ture events and univer­sity fes­tiv­i­ties, as well as acts as a dis­play plat­form for the univer­sity’s re­search and de­sign projects. The restau­rants, cafe­te­rias and bar cater for both stu­dents and staff mem­bers. The project is Aalto Univer­sity’s test lab for flex­i­ble work­ing meth­ods and mo­bile work. Two hun­dred of the univer­sity’s ad­min­is­tra­tive em­ploy­ees use the build­ing as their base.

The de­sign team’s aim was to re- rad­i­cal­ize Dipoli by cre­at­ing a fresh, open and dy­namic user ex­pe­ri­ence, not for­get­ting the orig­i­nal de­sign­ers’ vi­sion. The build­ing, lo­cated on the edge of the Al­var Aalto de­signed Otaniemi cam­pus, is the re­sult of an ar­chi­tec­tural com­pe­ti­tion or­ga­nized in 1961, where the Pi­etiläs’ en­try was originally awarded shared

2nd prize and later se­lected as the win­ner of the sec­ond com­pe­ti­tion or­ga­nized be­tween the two 2nd prize win­ners. The ren­o­va­tion was part of the larger cam­pus re­or­ga­ni­za­tion project linked to the for­mer Helsinki Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy cam­pus be­com­ing the main cam­pus of Aalto Univer­sity, born out of the merger of three Helsinki area uni­ver­si­ties. Prior to the ren­o­va­tion it func­tioned as a con­fer­ence cen­ter for a pe­riod of 20 years.

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