University of the Arts Helsinki

Architect
JKMM Architects
Location
Helsinki, Finland | View Map
Project Year
2021
Category
Universities

Art Galleries

Theaters

University of the Arts Helsinki

JKMM Architects as Architects

The new building for the University of the Arts (Uniarts) Helsinki, the Academy of Fine Arts, provides students and staff with exceptional facilities for tuition and making art within an architecturally distinct building. The architecture celebrates the imaginative integration of existing structures and pays homage to the history of Sörnäinen, a post-industrial neighbourhood buzzing today with young urban life.

photo_credit Hannu Rytky
Hannu Rytky
photo_credit Marc Goodwin
Marc Goodwin

Makerspace

Designed by JKMM, the ingenuity of the architecture lies in offering students of fine arts, lighting and sound design and design for the performing arts generous, muscular, well-lit, and clearly defined spaces. The communal and modifiable architecture will lend itself to a variety of uses for creating and experiencing a wide range of art forms, using different media, and working on scales from the intimate to the imposing. The architecture is thus there to enable rather than restrict creative endeavour.

photo_credit Marc Goodwin
Marc Goodwin
photo_credit Marc Goodwin
Marc Goodwin

Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts has been designed as a direct response to the needs of future visionaries providing generous contemporary makerspace with the latest technologies. With its raw surfaces and sense of spatial and experiential adventure, this is a building budding artists can respond to, challenge imaginatively and make their own.

photo_credit Mika Huisman
Mika Huisman
photo_credit Mika Huisman
Mika Huisman

Adaptive Reuse

Together with the Theatre Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts is part and parcel of the creative Uniarts campus on a site making fresh use of the eastern seafront of Helsinki downtown area. The two academies interconnect through an existing Modernist silo building at the heart of the site. Inside, the silo’s strategically exposed concrete frame provides architectural vigour at this key juncture. 

photo_credit Mika Huisman
Mika Huisman
photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo

The Theatre Academy – providing facilities for dance and theatre students housed within a former soap factory – has been partly remodelled with JKMM’s input. The practice has transformed a neighbouring converted electrical works to provide the Academy of Fine Arts with additional accommodation directly linked to the new build part of the scheme. In this way, the newly revisited Uniarts buildings introduce a significant and discrete 21st Century layer to the project.

photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo
photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo

The Academy of Fine Arts is affectionately named “Mylly” (Finnish for The Mill) referencing the building that preceded it. The pared down, even austere aesthetic of JKMM’s design and choice of clearly defined deep-set windows within the brick elevations reflects this functional industrial heritage. 

photo_credit Mika Huisman
Mika Huisman
photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo

Inside “The Mill”

At the heart of this five-storey building spanning over 13,000 sqm (gross) is a top-lit courtyard defined by a dramatic steel staircase that cuts through space diagonally from one level to the next. This creates a dynamic and communal core for the “Mylly” building as students move around from studios and learning spaces.

On the ground floor there is a dedicated gallery space accessible to the general public. The roof level incorporates a large outdoor terrace for making and exhibiting art together with far-reaching views over the city.

photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo
photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo

“Our holistic design vision was informed by a need to bring people together into a building that allows flexible use but is also firmly rooted in its urban context.  It was critical for us that the new spaces did not in any way limit what could be created within their walls but instead would inspire students to be bold and imaginative in pushing the boundaries of what they can achieve in the building. In reality, the spaces are only complete when the arts students occupy them and make them their own”, says the project’s lead architect and co-founder of JKMM Asmo Jaaksi.

photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo
photo_credit Asmo Jaaksi
Asmo Jaaksi

Social Value

To future-proof the building so it serves generations, JKMM has thought carefully about its supporting structures and their longevity. These have been minimised through load-bearing facades and a rational slab-column frame which will greatly facilitate change of use, if required, in years to come. Fair-faced concrete and steel surfaces and overall material choices have been specified for longevity and ease of maintenance.

photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo
photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo

“For interiors and furniture design we selected materials that work well within an old industrial setting and can withstand substantial wear and tear. Fittings are largely made of hard-wearing timber that also ages beautifully. At the same time, wood provides a welcome contrast to the concrete and steel surfaces”, describes the project’s lead interior architect Päivi Meuronen.
“We felt that the building should really embrace in an inspiring way the energy of student life and the process of art being made”, defines Meuronen.

From the very start back in 2017 when JKMM won the project, an important aspect of the brief was to create a local resource that brought researchers and makers of art together and made it accessible to the general public as well: an arts building with a gallery and programme embedded within its community. 

“Uniarts Helsinki’s new building for Academy of Fine Arts gives world-class facilities for teaching and learning arts. The marks of everyday living and art-making can be openly visible in the building, and the facilities can be easily adapted to our ever-changing needs in the future,” says Rector of Uniarts Helsinki Kaarlo Hildén. 

photo_credit Tuomas Uusheimo
Tuomas Uusheimo
photo_credit Niclas Mäkelä
Niclas Mäkelä

About The University of The Arts HELSINKI

The University of the Arts (Uniarts) Helsinki provides the highest level of education in music, fine arts, theatre, and dance in Finland. Uniarts Helsinki is an international forerunner in education and research in the field of arts and strengthens the role of art as a force that reforms society. Established in 2013, Uniarts Helsinki consists of the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy.

photo_credit Marc Goodwin
Marc Goodwin
photo_credit Marc Goodwin
Marc Goodwin

Client: Veritas Pension Insurance

JKMM ARCHITECTS DESIGN TEAM:
Asmo Jaaksi - lead architect, architect SAFA
Teemu Toivio - leading project architect, architect SAFA 
Jussi Vepsäläinen - project architect, architect SAFA 
Katja Savolainen - project architect, architect SAFA 
Reetta Aarnio - architect SAFA 
Jussi Eskelinen - architect SAFA
Matus Pajor - architect SAFA
Svenja Lindner - architect student
Teemu Kurkela - architect SAFA
Samuli Miettinen - architect SAFA
Juha Mäki-Jyllilä - architect SAFA  

Caption

JKMM INTERIORS DESIGN TEAM:

Päivi Meuronen - leading interior architect, interior architect SIO

Noora Liesimaa - leading interior architect, interior architect SIO

Sanna von Bruun - interior architect SIO

Paula Salonen - interior architect SIO

Elina Niemi - interior architect SIO

Caption

JKMM Design Team Partnered With The Following Parties:

Contractor- Lujatalo Oy

Structural design- Vahanen Oy

Electrical engineering- Sitowise Oy

Geotechnical engineering - Pöyry Finland Oy

Audiovisual design - Ramboll Finland Oy

Acoustics & sound design - Akukon Oy 

HVAC engineering - Sitowise Oy

Fire consultant - L2 Paloturvallisuus Oy

Caption

List Of The Manufacturing Companies Relevant For The Project:

Tile walls, facade - Raikkonen Oy

Windows, doors and glass walls - Jaatimet Oy

Flooring - Bermanto Oy

Glass walls - Vitrea Oy, Jaatimet Oy 

Caption

Press Image & Video Credits:

Images - Marc Goodwin, Mika Huisman, Asmo Jaaksi, Hannu Rytky & Tuomas Uusheimo

Video - Tapio Snellman

Caption
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