The Finnish-Russian School, competition entry

The key of our concept entry to the invitational competition for the Finnish-Russian school arranged by the Senate Properties was to create a modern and architectonically exquisite, safe and healthy school building and yard that support learning and enable the use of the latest educational methods. The current building located in Helsinki, designed and mainly constructed in 1964 by architect Osmo Sipari, is going to be demolished due to issues with its indoor air quality. The site is located near the intersection of the very busy Hämeenlinnanväylä and Ring Road I highways.

The basic principles of the design included adjusting the scale by paying attention to the building’s users and the surrounding urban environment, creating a pleasant and functional learning environment and applying memorable and vivid architectural methods. The compact figure of the building, cladded with copper, consists of a combination of three smaller parts. The pitched roofs and their variations make the large building a sympathetic figure and harmonious with its environment, which is dominantly of a smaller scale. There are plans to construct a large sports centre in the area, which will provide a safe and large yard for the school’s students together with the new buildings. The three-pronged layout of the building divides the yard into separate sections and connects the pre-school’s yard to the yard of the adjacent day care centre.

Different developmental phases of the schoolchildren and students attending pre-school and upper secondary education must be taken into account from various perspectives. The intertwined elements of the plaza-like cafeteria that serve different purposes form a compact and village-like environment in which even the youngest schoolchildren are able to focus and get orientated. The building’s activities open to the widest public, including the Centre for Russian Language and the library, are accessible from the campus plaza, which also functions as the main entrance. The main staircase, which can be expanded into seated stands for students, can be used to arrange large events in the cafeteria, which includes a stage on one side of its triangular layout.

In order to enable a well-lit, pleasant and open learning environment, all building volumes were equipped with a light catch. By doing so, it became possible to illuminate the plaza-like learning environment with natural light, creating a unique school environment. The broad spaces allow customisability and different furnishings for a variety of events of different sizes. The open nature of the spaces is highlighted by the interior glass doors and apertures to the open and high space of the cafeteria. The wooden, concrete and copper surfaces create a warm and beautifully aging complex.


Helsinki, 2018
Principle and Architecture Design

Organizer of the competition
Senate Properties

Gross area
8150 m²

In co-operation
Architecture office Sami Wikström

Special design
Ramboll

Pedagogical expert
Elise Tarvainen

Maxim Cinema

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