The proposal for a new intervention on the Aalto University Campus on the outskirts of Helsinki, Finland demands a high quality and innovative masterplanning and architectural response to meet the aspirations of the university.

Following a careful study of the campus the design proposes a new central space should be located in front of the Aalto auditorium building, reinforcing the importance of the building architecturally and linking it to a new building located to the western end of the site defining the central space.


The new Central Square is conceived as both a central space to gather in - a place of interaction - and a key connecting space within the overall campus. Level changes are used to formally distinguish between how spaces are used.


The square is formed of two distinct levels separated by a series of terraced steps. At the higher level entrances to new and existing buildings, the Metro the School of Art, Design and Architecture and the Learning Centre, as well as routes to the surrounding campus.


At the lower level, a place to gather, meet or eat in the restaurants flanking the square, allowing views back to iconic backdrop of the Aalto building. Next to the restaurants is located the LUME facilities, which as performance spaces benefit from the dramatic setting and allows for their use in the evening or outside of semester as they can be accessed independently of the School if required.


Below the square is a ‘street’ of commercial spaces linking the Metro with the restaurant facilities and the underground car parking. Further underground links are envisaged to other existing key buildings.


Besides the general arrangement of the buildings the mass and form of the buildings ensures the square feels physically enclosed - a defined space, whilst retaining the Aalto roofscape as the dominant feature both within the square and as part of any vista within the campus.


The School Courtyard

The concept of the square as a space of interaction and circulation is utilised in the planning of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

The building’s different programmatic spaces/uses are organised around a circulation route around a central courtyard. With the interface of the Teaching (seminar/modular) spaces and the Studio/Workshop - doing/ making - spaces forming the Project Space - a place for interaction, collaboration and discussion.






Aalto University Campus

Helsinki, Finland