Sweco architects participated in the district’s revitalising scheme, as an industrial and office building that had been vacant for three years offered the possibility to create a new kind of learning environment. Our guiding theme was an open learning environment. The building, that is very three-dimensional in character, gave us the option of making the goal a reality.
Amending an office and industrial building for use as an educational establishment.
The Amiedu II project was preceded by drafting a mapping and expansion plan in the fall of 2012 for the primary offices of Amiedu, completed in 1996. Based on this mapping, the customer abandoned the expansion plan for the property built in 1996. The placing opportunities for the new space did not meet their goals.
The principal designer organised a meeting with the management team in charge of the project and suggested that the customer restart the project with a new mapping, as a tight design and construction schedule of 18 months, including alterations to city plans, was already announced due to the fact that the customer’s lease for the space in question was about to end at the end of 2014.
The customer was aware of the principal designer’s view, and work was started in a very good and cooperative spirit. Upon request by the customer, the principal designer started by looking at an empty office and industrial building formerly used by Martela and ABB. Based on investigations, the statement on the spaces’ suitability for Amiedu was favourable. Amiedu initiated the purchasing process for the property, and within six months Sweco Architects had the necessary permits for the project.
When design work started, the building had been unused for three years, most of the internal walls were removed and all of the internal finishes had come to the end of their life cycle. There were no restrictions in terms of design.
Both the principal designer and the customer wanted to create an open and broad-minded learning environment. The ample use of glass walls as well as utilising two high central spaces ensured that the project would achieve a close-knit, communal atmosphere focused on learning and work. To support these solutions, Sweco Architects were open-minded in utilising colours and different materials in the interior finishes.
As a majority of the education would be directed towards improving the varied skill levels of immigrants, Sweco Architects had to use design to ensure that all the groups could fit together. Design also had to accommodate ethnic and religious factors as well as different customs – Sweco Architects even had to observe the challenges of people coming from war-ridden areas.
Based on the principal designer’s suggestion, Sweco was selected as the overseer of the implementation, which worked to create a functional and cooperative relationship with the main contractor Peab Oy.