MenoMenoPiu Architects and Paolo Venturella just unveiled plans for the new Alvar Aalto University Campus near Helsinki. The proposed plans envision an energy-efficient and flexible learning environment that redefines the classic courtyard typology and creates a variety of spaces for private and shared activities. The building's perforated envelope aids in climate control, while its roof harvests both rainwater and wind power.
The four sides of the courtyard unfold along the axis of the main road and create an urban square that is shared by students and other inhabitants of the city. The courtyard frames the view of the main Alvar Aalto building and establishes the main entrance into the complex. Different levels and heights create a diverse landscape that augments the project’s concept of overlapping functions. This approach creates a fluid space that combines pedestrian and bicycle traffic and condenses and relaxes the effects of volumes and materiality.
The perforated envelope varies in transparency to provide different areas with optimal daylighting – the glazed surfaces are concentrated on the south-west façade to accumulate heat during the day. The roofs have different heights and can be used as summer terraces and outdoor exhibition areas. Wind turbines are placed on the highest roof to harvest energy to meet the demands of the new building. The architects also incorporated high-performance materials, natural ventilation, controlled humidity, and geothermal energy to offset the building’s carbon footprint and make it energy-efficient.