Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects' proposal ‘Lyhty’, the Finnish word for lantern, has been announced as the winning competition proposal for Matinkylä Upper Secondary School in Espoo, Finland. In addition to learning environments, the building includes a sports hall and a roof yard. The premises are reserved not only for the Upper Secondary School but also for other uses by citizens.
In total, the gross floor area of the building is 11,305 m². Matinkylä Upper Secondary School is located next to the metro station, in the southern part of Tynnyripuisto Park. Together with a swimming hall and sports fields currently under construction, it will create a vast citizen-serving public space.
Light plays a central role in the competition proposal. The facades of the building are largely made of glass, inviting in an abundance of light and opening the building to its surroundings. In addition to the glass facades, sunlight is obtained through the roof yard and through all floors all the way to the dining hall in the heart of the building. Opal glass surfaces separate the sports hall and learning spaces, but at the same time the light filtered through the glass connects the spaces to each other. On the outside, the pale building resembles, as its name implies, a lantern that illuminates its surroundings.
The learning environments consist of both classrooms and more open, free learning environments that encourage students to discuss and interact in an informal way. In the past, this type of spaces have been used in Finnish primary school buildings, which makes Matinkylä Upper Secondary School a pioneering project among education buildings. In addition, the roof yard, where students can study outdoors, brings a refreshing addition to learning environments.
The basic design and construction of the building, which is reflected in the compact and energy-efficient form of the building, adhere to the principles of sustainable development. Wood is an essential material in the proposal, as both the frame of the building and much of the interiors can be made of wood.