The new building of Oulu University’s School of Architecture, is based on the winning entry in an open design competition that was held in 2000. The completion of the new building, which is the first one in the city block in 100 years, implies that the School of Architecture no longer faces the threat of relocation from the city center.
The world’s northernmost school of architecture will continue to operate its own mini-campus at the school’s original location. The architecture starts from the characteristics of the site. The firebreak alley, with its birch trees, forms the backbone of the design. The layout of the building mass and the color of the façade react to the scale and texture of the block. A cross-shaped indoor-street divides the building into four parts. The shape of the roof follows the division and gives the building a strong identity in the cityscape and in its interior space. Central aims are to integrate a modern building into a historic block and to expose the activities of the School of Architecture to the community.
The building contains the teaching- and workshop facilities for two design laboratories and several common facilities; a main auditorium, an exhibition space and a cafeteria. In general, the architecture strives to create structural clarity, a sense of spatial qualities through plain detailing, and a neutral backdrop for the creative activities of the school of architecture. The range of materials project authenticity and a rugged workshop-like atmosphere.