Otakaari 1 renovation

In Otakaari 1 renovation the interior and technical systems of the architecturally significant building were modernized with respect to the old.

Aalto University bachelor’s centre, the landmark of the campus, was completed in 1964 as the main building of Helsinki University of Technology. The building is considered to be one of the main works of Alvar Aalto. The building has been later extended and changes have been made in different parts, but for the most part the building has kept its original appearance. Also building technology was from the 1960’s and close to the end of its technical lifetime. The renovation started with the approach of modernizing the whole building technology system to meet the current standards, concurrently improving indoor air conditions, decreasing energy consumption and improving the usability, safety and accessibility of spaces.

Renovation of the main building was an extensive project, completed in four phases during years 2007-2015. The interiors of the building were restored and building technology was nearly completely renewed. Water pipes and drains were for the most pats renewed, as well as heating, ventilation, building automation, lighting, electricity, ict and security technology. Completely new technology is a cooling system utilizing free cooling. The energy efficiency of the building envelope and controllability of the indoor environment were improved. Also the usability and cosiness of spaces was increased by improving space solutions. Subsurface drains and foundation water and heat insulation were renewed. Also fire safety and accessibility of the building were improved.

The main building is architecturally and cultural historically significant edifice, and therefore protective aspects were central in design of the renovation. New technology needed to be fitted into old structures without substantially changing their appearance. Old building parts, wall claddings, floor coatings, furniture and lights were preserved and restored when possible. For example lecture hall seats were restored, but the seating angle was fixed to better suit the current size standards of students. All phases of the renovation design were done in collaboration with the National Board of Antiquities and Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Energy efficiency as a part of the renovation

One goal of the renovation was to improve the energy efficiency and indoor air conditions of the building. Heating energy consumption is estimated to be decreased by 37% compared to the situation before the renovation. Especially complete renewal of the ventilation and fitting it with effective heat recovery unit and demand control system and the new free cooling system will considerably decrease the energy consumption. Additionally all the windows were repaired and lights were changed to energy saving ones. There are LED lights for example in some of the hallways and offices.