As the current 19th century building of Suomalainen Normaalilyseo was beginning to feel cramped and worn, The University of Helsinki, of which the prestigious school is a part, decided to annex the adjacent 19th century building by building a new interlinking building, and at the same time to thoroughly renovate both old buildings. Our commission was to help with the renovation planning*, and to design the new annex building.
Our approach was to via the annex building add a lobby with a view towards the beautiful neogothic cathedral on the southside. We also wanted to make the new annex a focal point that enhances the flow between the two old buildings and their differing floor levels. Both externally and internally we used materials that match the adjacent traditional materials withstanding time and ageing beautifully.
The new annex has 3 floors. The semi underground basement contains a full-size modern gymnastics hall, the 1st and 2nd floors have each a computer-sciences classroom and share the “southern lobby” with a large sculptural staircase linking the floors.
*the renovation was done in collaboration with Härö Architects Ltd