Aalto University Design Competition / Finland
Fabio Miguel da Silva Cuhna
Ketham Santosh Kumar
Connecting Topography - Leading Axiality
Design and orientation of the campus relate to the existing condition in two distinct ways: vertically, through continuing the existing topographic characteristic to provide a topographically modulated landscape on a lower level; and horizontally, through strict adherence to a visual axis along Otnamienie Otnäsvägen to the main auditorium on top of the hill.
While the horizontal axis is used to frame a view and give orientation and identity to the campus as it is approached, the vertical modulations provide a loose interplay between a lower commercial and leisure level and an upper access level to the educational facilities of the campus.
This artificial landscape takes its inspiration from the existing tree lined approach to the existing Aalto University Library, and takes up the theme of green space along an axis. This green space is fragmented into 5 individual squares clearly related to each of the University departments. This fragmentation allows for individuality and high levels of distinctions between the departments, whilst creating space for interaction and cross-disciplinarity.
Access and Connectivity
Vehicle access to and through the site is diverted underground, and channeled around the site through re-routing the major thoroughfare of Otnäsvägen. Both the lower ‘market hall’ level and the upper department access levels are restricted to bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Gradients and landscaping are fully accessible and barrier free.
Seen from the auditorium, the topography of the square is continued downwards to access the commercial level, while a level access provides a shortcut to the University facilities.
In anticipation of two new underground stations, connections are opened up to the main points on site. Parking is provided underground, with a small level of surface parking maintained on the streets surrounding the campus. These also provide delivery and servicing of both commercial and educational buildings.
The campus character and close relationship between the institutes is enhanced by topography and landscape, provision of public places, external furniture, and an environment for seemingly incidental cross connections between department buildings. Additionally, this arrangement ensures connectivity between the campus on the whole and the lower commercial and leisure functions, arranged as a series of ‘market halls’. Through its horizontal axis, the campus maintains high visibility from the surrounding areas, thereby ensuring and enhancing its position as a vibrant and living part of the city.