kolmapäev, 23. oktoober 2013

Aalto University Campus by Verstas Architects

This is the site plan from the winning entry of the recently finished architecture competition of the Aalto University's new central campus in Otaniemi (Espoo, Helsinki). The site is located next to the former TKK’s well known main building and its library, both designed by Alvar Aalto himself. Scheduled to open in 2015, the new central building will, among others, accommodate The School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

The winners from Verstas arkkitehdit (Finland) seem to have been focused on finding a spatial formula, an algorithm or code if you like, which would be attributable to infinite number of urban situations. Yet, its “DNA” (as referred to in Verstas’ texts), is developed considering the particular context in Otaniemi.

What seems to make this formula or DNA distinct, is its ability to adjust not like a parasite or virus, but like an “intelligent immigrant” respecting the existing context. Unlike some of the parametricists’ architecture e.g., which also follows a particular set of formulas/algorithms for generating spaces, the winning entry by Verstas modestly assimilates itself into the existing environment, accentuating the qualities of the neighbouring buildings and adding its own contemporary character.

Unlike the parametricists’ algorithms, it seems not only to use a wider set of defining parameters, but to combine those abstract, generative principles with human agency and authorship. For me, the Verstas’ entry seems to implement those formal generative principles without abandoning the sensitivity of neither the human eye nor his critical mind.