Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects (LMA) will design the Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages in Helsinki, Finland. The tender submitted together with construction company SRV Rakennus Oy was selected as the winner by the City of Helsinki. The communal building includes, for example, flexible spaces for studying, a multi-purpose hall, a green rooftop yard and public spaces open to citizens.
In total, the gross area of the building is 8,500 m². The School will be erected on a small and demanding site next to a metro station and the Myllypuro campus of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, also designed by LMA and completed last year.
The Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages is a public building with strong identity but considerate of its surroundings. It adapts to its environment, not rising above the apartment buildings in the vicinity and, in terms of facades, follows the example of the Metropolia campus, which is a dominant landmark in Myllypuro area. The school strives to save long views from the neighboring apartment buildings and, on the other hand, offer new, interesting views thanks to its rooftop yards. The facades of the building are made of perforated aluminum, graphic concrete, wood and glass. Inside, wood and other natural materials create comfortable spaces that are pleasant to the touch, eye and ear.
For LMA, the goal was to create a design that promotes communality and cosmopolitan ethos among students, serves the residents of the surrounding area and creates living urban space by making school activities visible to the outside. In addition to social studying spaces and classrooms, the building offers students, for instance, laboratories and facilities for creative endeavors. Various elements placed around the building encourage students to move and exercise, and the rooftop yard provides a green space for studying and relaxation. So-called Plaza of Cultures and a cafeteria, situated on the ground floor, are meeting places and suitable for events. The activities on the ground floor can be seen from the outside through glass walls and can also take place on the small public square in front of the building. The two lowest floors of the building are in public use, allowing citizens to make use of, for example, educational kitchens and art and craft spaces.
The design includes numerous environmentally friendly solutions, such as the use of recyclable materials and utilizing solar panels to meet part of the building’s energy needs. As a result, the building causes 40% less CO2 emissions during its lifecycle compared to a conventional building.