The renovation of the Aalto University Töölö building restored the spirit of the 1950s

The former main building of the School of Business in Runeberginkatu was renewed into a modern learning environment.
The great hall, which served as the stage for many celebrations, was restored to the original spirit of the 1950s. The facilities are currently being furnished. Photo: Mikael Lindén.

The comprehensive renovation of Aalto University Töölö, the former main building of the School of Business, has been completed. The building, which is one of the most significant works of building art in Finland's reconstruction period, was returned to the original spirit of the 1950s. The building technology was renewed.

As a result of the renovation, the building was also renamed. The iconic building in the heart of Töölö was named Aalto University Töölö (Aalto-yliopisto Töölö), and it will be used for education, offices, restaurants and events from the beginning of 2021. The largest hub of leadership and professional development in the Nordics is created to the building. The facilities are currently being furnished.

The building, which was designed by the architectural partners Hugo Harmia and Woldemar Baeckman and was completed in 1950, is included in the register of DoCoMoMo, an organisation specialising in the protection and documentation of modern international architecture. The repair and renewal plan was drawn up in close cooperation with the Finnish Heritage Agency.

The aim of the repairs was to create a sustainable, modern and international learning environment that respects the architecture, design and art of post-war Finland. The interiors of the lecture halls and the great banquet hall were restored to the original 1950s style, and the spirit of the 1980s was peeled off the classrooms. Some 500 lighting fixtures, some of which were designed by Paavo Tynell, were reinstated after reconditioning. All windows of the building were refurbished, high-gloss paint on doors and wooden veneer surfaces in the halls were conserved, and old writing boards were also given a new life as mirror frames for toilets facilities. No changes were made to the yellow brick facade decorated by Michael Schilkin's ceramic relief, but the garden was restored to the style of the 50s with typical plants from that era.

In the renovation, the building's technology was modernised and at the same time the energy efficiency of the building was improved. The heating system, service water network and sewers were renewed, the adjustability of ventilation units was improved and room-specific cooling was implemented by means of district cooling. The building automation and energy management system utilises the latest technology. Sound insulation was improved in many ways, and with the new lifts and courtyard entrance, the building is now almost entirely accessible.

From the beginning of 2021, the main occupant of the building will be Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE), which provides executive education and leadership development services globally. Versatile and modern office and training facilities for leasing purposes have also been created in the building. In January 2021, Restaurant Töölö will open a restaurant, banquet hall and auditorium open to everyone, where various parties, concerts, dinners and seminars can be organised.

Year of completion of the building: 1950
Original architects: Woldemar Baeckman and Hugo Harmia
Master and architectural design of the renovation: SARC Architects
Building owner: Aalto University Foundation
Primary contractor: Fira Oy
Building engineering contractor: Caverion Oy
Building occupants: main occupant Aalto University Executive Education, restaurant service partner Kanresta Oy

 

Further information and interview requests:
Anu Salmi-Savilampi
Communications Manager, Aalto University
[email protected], + 358 50 464 4585

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