A winner has been declared for the open international architectural design competition Campus 2015, arranged by Aalto University Properties Ltd.
The competition jury selected the entry Väre, designed by the Finnish firm Verstas Architects and its team of architects, Väinö Nikkilä, Jussi Palva, Riina Palva and Ilkka Salminen, as the first prize winner. According to the jury, this scheme most successfully solved the challenges and conflicting demands of the competition.
The aim of the Campus 2015 competition was to design a new core campus for Aalto University in Otaniemi and the competition process was arranged in two phases. The 1st phase attracted 189 entries. Six of these entries were chosen for the second phase, the goal of which was to create a unique solution and a usable learning environment for the new building and its immediate surroundings.
The quality of the architecture as well as cost efficiency and ecological sustainability were among the assessment criteria. The jury describes the winner, Väre, as a strong and convincing entry, which has been developed positively and has managed to answer most of the queries posed by the jury after the results from the first phase of the competition.
The layout offers its own structural DNA matrix as the organising principle for the new buildings; it forms this pattern based on two of the principal coordinates taken from the nearby old main building of the former Helsinki University of Technology and the main library, which were designed by Alvar Aalto. According to the jury, the winner’s approach is fresh: the simple basic module produces a convincing variety of spatial arrangements, and it is adaptable and flexible but with a clear and distinct architectural character.
The spatial concept has also found a fitting form, in which users move from the general public areas upwards towards more private and intimate places or from interdisciplinary to more specialised activities, a mode of operation completely in tune with the expressed aims of the university.