EduCity by Sigge Architects. A contemporary building dedicated to education and research.
EduCity is the new center for education, innovation and research on the Kupittaa campus in Turku, Finland. Located in Turku Science Park, the city's science park, the seven-story building combines existing buildings with modern architecture and links innovation and education through inspiring and sustainable architecture. The dynamic shapes, the intertwined structure and the versatile colours of the floor (Bolon by Patricia Urquiola) helped the architects to create a functional place for a dynamic and stimulating educational experience.
The existing buildings within the Science Park represent a range of different architectural styles and periods and form a very interesting ensemble when viewed together. EduCity links into the ICT building next door via a bridge, also creating a direct connection to "Ströget", the campus’s pedestrian main street. Our idea was to create four terraced buildings that sweep upwards from the centre, and EduCity represents the phase one of this plan. We’re currently in the process of designing another building with a very similar feel for the opposite side of the atrium.
We wanted to build learning environments for the future, including some that would be open plan and others that are more traditional and enclosed. The spaces we ultimately created are all highly adaptable and feature operable walls and curtains that can be used to make them bigger and smaller depending on what’s needed. All the spaces intended for quiet working have been fitted with glass walls, while the co-working cafes are located in out-of-the-way areas, close to roof terraces.
Regarding the sustainability in the design process, we set out to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of certification available. The rating is calculated using a number of different features: this building has green roofs, for example, and heating is provided by solar panels and geothermal energy. Also, the building itself is used for higher education purposes. For example, the ventilation plant room is bigger than it otherwise would be.
The atrium actually dates back to the Science Park detailed plan. We opted to use silk screen printed glass for the skylight to control the amount of light entering the space. The office and learning spaces open out into the atrium, and the wooden features, or “dice”, that project into the space create an engaging and visually interesting finish. The dice are built with the building’s acoustics in mind and are designed to reduce the echo here. The “Stairway of Skills" descend from the foyer into the building’s restaurant.
From the outset, the client was looking for a concrete building. We created a design featuring a raised square pattern on the facade, which is what the seemingly random window placement takes its cue from. Following a decision by the city council, we had to change the facade material and opted for the handmade Kolumba tiles, which link EduCity with the brick-built DataCity building next door. The Kolumba tiles were originally created for the Kolumba Museum in Cologne by the architect Peter Zumthor. The brickwork finish allows for an interesting and nuanced articulation. The plant room is clad in an aluminium-magnesium alloy which creates a brilliant visual link with the ICT-City building next door.
We wanted to create a look that would blend academia with a more industrial feel. The finishes are robust and, internally, the concrete is visible as a structural and aesthetic element. The slatted timber walls create a softer, Nordic feel and the 4000m2 colourful and textiles of Bolon floors (Studio Triangle, Artisan Slate, Artisan Kale and Elements Wool collections) customized for the project add a sense of joy.
There is a lot of art on display throughout the building. Ensuring that art is incorporated into the design has always been a fundamental aspect of the EduCity project as well as other Turku Science Park developments. During the design and implementation phase, we gave careful consideration to how and where art might be displayed here, and we ran an arts competition during the building phase. Our priority was to ensure that art was fully integrated both internally and externally.
(Pekka Mäki from Sigge Architects . Ark interview “Light Encounters" - 01 / 2021)