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2012 – Tilat n University _ Helsinki Finland




Program Otaniemi : central campus of Aalto University
Area 60 000 m²
Place Espoo (Helsinki border) Finland
Team Eric Cassar, Julien Papaud, Aurélien Bonvalet, Javier Murillo, Florian Harry


General principals Adapted to Espoo climate, Tilatn is a smart-building, the center of a network, the meeting point for people, spaces, disciplines, dimensions… It helps to connect space with spaces, information with spaces and people both together and one with another.
First we want Tilatn to become the physical campus center, a meeting point, a gathering Agora. So we decide to expand public space by building new inside spaces underneath.


Our project is an artificial landscape which promotes pedestrians, a playground where they can find a new way to reinvent walking or commuting. It is a void open to the sky ; a new slanted place which invites people to trade and study while sitting in front of the Aalto building. In a social and environmental aspect Tilatn adapts to the environment and creates a feeling of confort. It is protected from the wind.  Even if the inside road diffuses its energy to the builiding, Tilatn invites people to forget their car and to change their habits. It is a place for pedestrians on a pedestrian scale.

The Agora
The Agora is a mineral place in order to contrast with the vegetation around. It is animated with cafés and a restaurant. It is designed to receive any kind of temporary events such as concerts, art exhibitions, temporary markets…
This place offers an open view to first Aalto main building but it also includes a tower and a point which leads to the sky (extremity of the main oblique building). Those three signs, visible in the distance represent and localize the space from everywhere on the campus.
On the east, in direct contact with the Agora, a pedestrian street is animated by all the shops. Businesses are grouped together. They are right next to the university but not melt in it. This commercial street opens onto the Agora which is Tilatn roof.

The reactive Envelope
This roof is part of a reactive envelope. The envelope is made of concrete with bricks and weathering steel pathes on roof and translucent walls.
Games with snow, light, wind, humidity, participate to the changing aspect of the building. Its envelope is not static, it is reactive. That way, as a cameleon Tilatn adapts and reacts to the environment.

The Strips
Under the Agora there is a huge volume filled with the university premises.
The program of each discipline is included in one long strip of 4 to 5 meters height which passes through several height levels.
All the Strips are intertwined in this volume. They cross each other [students learn understanding their discipline but also meeting with other disciplines]
Between and around the Strips there are Interstitial spaces (stairs, corridors, inside patios, footpathes…). Those Interstitial spaces, accessible to everyone in the university encourage people to meet and exchange. They are made of nook and cranny. Some of them are open to the main patio or to small outside courtyards covered by the steel meshes of the envelope…
Each Strip is composed of 3 kinds of spaces : classrooms that are closed, workshops open to the main volume and openable spaces (spaces being closed or open depending on the need).

The Lane & The InstrumenTower
In addition to the Strips and Interstitial spaces, there is the Lane : an inside public space open to everyone (even people outside the university). This indoor street leads any visitors from the parking and the subway to the learning center or the restaurant and the shops while passing through the university. This public street interacts virtually and physically with the university (even if there is no direct physical access). The Lane ends with the InstrumenTower : a visual instrument which acts and reacts depending on several input datas. The Lane vibrates essentially thanks to the Strips. It collects the energy of the Strips and expresses this energy changing its color.

The Canopy Refuge
Next to this central building, the learning center is hidden inside a forest. It is not built on the ground but in the trees. It is similar to a Canopy Refuge. The trees pass through the reading room. The structure of the peripheral walls acts as a large bookcase. This bookcase (2,5 meters high) ends with a glass wall over it. Some patios let the light and the trees enter. Inside this library, visitors are in visual relation only with trees, the sky and books.
This building roof is a large garden available to the readers. Its ground is not flat but with small reliefs. Made of concrete, wood and vegetation it delineates small amphitheaters opened around the patios. Visitors can read and study in the foliage.

The Core
Tilatn is also a Core. This Core generate an intelligent environment. This computer brain helps to connect and inform students. It also regulates the temperature, humidity and entry of light inside the building in order to save energy. Furthermore it allows the Instrumentower to live and play (by itself or through the control of artists…). Visible in the distance, the students understand the indoor activity (of the university) just seeing this “aurora borealis” visually moving. Colors are associated with simple information (empty or crowded learning centre, restaurant…). It fluctuates depending on the university rhythm. The students have also the opportunity to express their creativity through happenings or any art event by taking the control of this visual instrument.
At Tilatn, students choose to be [dis]connected as they have the choice to see and/or to be seen. Our challenge is not to connect them but to connect them better : anyone at any place has the opportunity to be connected or disconnected. Everybody can have a live access to any connected classroom through displays from anywhere in the campus (library, café, Agora).


Tilatn is both physical and virtual construction melt together. It includes new pathes, new connections in order to create new spaces with different flavors. They adapt to their moving environment. People (including students) appreciate being anywhere, outside or inside, in the Strips or the Intersticial spaces, in the Lane, in the Canopy Refuge, or on the Agora looking at the InstrumenTower or Aalto’s building, [dis]connected depending on their mood, on their wish…
Tilatn reinforces Aalto University identification and let it dive into the future.


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