Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo
The library building was completed in 1970 to complement the Otaniemi campus design by Alvar Aalto. The renovation of the library building designed by NRT Architects was completed in 2016. The 2017 Finlandia Prize for Architecture was presented to architects Teemu Tuomi and Tuomo Remes at the awards ceremony at Valkoinen Sali, Helsinki.
The renovation of the learning centre has succeeded in upgrading and modernising the building to meet today’s needs by boldly introducing novel ideas while challenging and yet respecting the original design of the building.
The flowing spaces of the learning centre interior, with its rich details illuminated from above, represent easily recognisable Aalto architecture. The exterior was left intact just like the library halls with their fixtures. A new learning centre has been opened in what used to be a book depository.
“Introducing new types of learning into the building while respecting Aalto’s architecture was achieved by removing the book depository function altogether. One of the low depository floors was completely dismantled and a large opening was added to another to let in light. This resulted in a room that would have had no use in a 1970s library. The multi-purpose space can be defined and redefined according to future needs. It currently serves as a space for rehearsals, software learning, 3D printing, virtual games, events and also has a café,” says architect Teemu Tuomi.