Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Aalto University Metro Station in Espoo, Finland by ALA Architects
January 31st, 2018 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: ALA Architects
The first phase of the western extension of the Helsinki metropolitan area subway line, the West Metro – in use since November 18, 2017 – connects Ruoholahti, Helsinki to Matinkylä, Espoo. The West Metro will service over 170,000 passengers per day. The objective that has been set for the architecture of the eight new stations along the first, and the five new stations along the second phase of the extension is to create distinctive, location-specific identities for them on both urban and interior scale. At the same time the metro will act as a link between the various urban centers of the City of Espoo and in a way create its new backbone.
ALA Architects and Esa Piironen Architects have designed two of the new stations along the first extension phase: the Aalto University Station and the Keilaniemi Station. ALA is additionally working on three stations in Kivenlahti, Espoonlahti and Soukka along the second extension phase to be opened for traffic in the early 2020s.
Otaniemi, today home to Aalto University, has since the 1950s had a strong individual character linked to science, technology and the general belief in the future. The growing campus is defined by the Alvar Aalto designed red-brick buildings.
The Aalto University metro station resides in the heart of the growing university campus in Otaniemi. Its main entrance opens straight towards the former Helsinki University of Technology main building.
Among other design decisions, the Aalto University station distinguishes itself from the other stations along the metro route through its rich material palette. The palette has been picked as to avoid gloss, and to emphasize natural materiality. The station’s lowered ceiling is made of Cor-ten steel panels. It visually connects all the public areas of the station, and relates to the surrounding red brick environments with its color. The faceted ceiling flows through the main entrance, to the platform level and up to the secondary entrance on Tietotie street.
Aged dark copper sheet cladding, grey granite and Cor-ten sheets form the basis of the material palette for the above ground parts of the entrance pavilions. Visible structures are reduced in the entrance space with an engineered, athletic, light form reminiscent of origami. Natural light is brought down to the platform level via an escalator shaft that terminates with a view towards the lime alley of the Otaniemi Mansion.
ALA Architects specializes in demanding cultural buildings, terminal design and unique renovation projects. The Helsinki–based firm was founded in 2005 by four partners: Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston. Their collaboration started in 2004 through success in architectural competitions. The 1st prize in the open international competition for the new theater and concert hall, Kilden Performing Arts Centre, in Kristiansand, Norway in 2005 granted them their first commission. ALA’s most recent completed projects are the new City Theatre in Lappeenranta, Finland, as well as the Aalto University and Keilaniemi metro stations and the renovation of the Dipoli Student Centre and its repurposing as the main building of Aalto University, all in Espoo, Finland. ALA is currently working on such projects as the expansion of the Helsinki Airport, the Helsinki Central Library, three more subway stations along the second phase of the western extension of the Helsinki Metro, a new Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Tampere, Finland, and the renovation of the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi.
Esa Piironen Architects
Esa Piironen Architects is a Helsinki-based architectural office founded in 1990. The firm is characterized by their constant commitment to humanistic principles and environmentally conscious design. They have completed a wide variety of projects from street furniture to urban planning. Many of their realized projects have been based on winning competition entries. Esa Piironen has received altogether 12 1st prizes. The firm has completed numerous educational and religious buildings but is today probably best known for their transportation related projects. In addition to the two metro stations mentioned above, these include a pedestrian underpass and platform roofing at the Seinäjoki station (1993), the Kaisaniemi (now University of Helsinki) Metro Station (1995), the Vuosaari metro station in Helsinki (1998), a pedestrian underpass and station shelters at the Pori Railway Station (1998), the roofing over the platform area of Eliel Saarinen’s Helsinki Central Railway Station (2001), Leppävaara transport hub in Espoo (2002), and the Koivukylä station in Vantaa (2004).
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