173ota_150m roundabout building

The site lies within the leftover space between existing departments of the University, a former crossroads of intersecting streets which the Master plan will render obsolete save for the underground below. Much like a baker rolling out dough, the proposal rolls out the programme to create a thin 150m wide two storey high base. This wide flat building will maximise connectivity to the existing buildings by being within close proximity to them. The informal existing pathways that criss-cross the site are allowed to remain as the proposal is elevated from the ground, UFO, to create below an artificial landscape, a covered forest foyer that encapsulates a small hill or dune (stair entry), a forest (timber pilotis structure), and a suspended bridge (ramp).

A 150m wide circular plan produces a maximum of 17,700 sqm perforated at 30m intervals by courtyard atria for light. The programme for the school is organised in clusters of concentric circles around these atriums: the circles are of varying width according to the requisite programme: 5m wide for offices, 10m wide for classrooms, 20m for lecture halls etc. The concentric plan organisation of the school lies is contrast to the map-like form of the ground plan.

The roof of the school is both a space recreational (ice-skating, tennis) as well as a plateau for renewable energies: PV on the roof illuminate the forest foyer below… TBC

Design process brought to you by iPhone SketchPad.


The starting point for an architecture school at the AaA University should not start with a denial of AaA, but acceptance. Page 20 from the book ‘AaA through the eyes of shigeru ban’ could be a founding image: the forest suggests pathways through landscapes; the roof not just cover but programme. Where we go in terms of interpretation of AaA’s work could follow the development of architecture from Nordic modernism into the age of digital globalism. We could be not site specific but architectonically specific.
We have a language at our disposal, not a linguistic language (Finnish) but an architectural language which we could use to relearn, rebuild, reassess and refresh AaA for the 21st Century. And an architectural school is about history, research, design, reference, interpretation, quotation. Talking buildings…
INTERPRETATION 2: Building reduced to domestic object…
INTERPRETATION 3: Building as Cityscape…