The Aurum building was completed and handed over to the main users, Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku, and the property developer, at the end of April

Constructed on Yliopistonmäki hill, the Aurum building is the new home of the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Åbo Akademi University and the Department of Chemistry of the University of Turku. Users were able to have a say in the planning right from the start.

Aurum’s common building of 20,000 m² contains teaching and research premises, laboratory facilities, meeting rooms, offices and related auxiliary facilities. The building will also contain teaching and laboratory facilities shared by the universities.

– A new era begins as the Faculty’s activities move from three buildings to one. Shared premises and equipment strengthen active and important cooperation with the University of Turku, and within the Faculty. Aurum is a modern and flexible building that has been awarded an environmental certificate with an excellent grade. It offers our staff a high-quality work environment and supports Åbo Akademi’s sustainability goals. It feels great to welcome students to the new premises, when they can return to the campus gradually, says Patrik Henelius, Dean of Åbo Akademi University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.

 − Moving to Aurum together with Åbo Akademi will deepen our long-term cooperation more than ever. The services and expertise of the common analytics centre, for example, can now be expanded, which benefits both universities, the companies in the area and other partners, says Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science of the University of Turku, Juha-Pekka Salminen.

In addition, the building will house the Kårkaféerna restaurant, CampusSport gym and Tekniikan akateemiset TEK’s and Tekniska föreningen i Finland TFiF’s regional office TFiF&TEK Lounge, as well as the University Properties of Finland Ltd’s (SYK) office in Western Finland. The moving will take place mainly during the summer.

The premises were developed in a bold manner, with the focus being on functionality, and they were built for flexible transformation. The property developer was University Properties of Finland Ltd (SYK), the main architect was Aihio Architects’ Piia Viitanen, Skanska Talonrakennus Oy acted as project management contractor, and Saraco Oy acted as property development consultant.

The construction project was very successful, and because of this, SYK rewarded Aihio Architects, Skanska Talonrakennus Oy and Saraco Oy with diplomas for good construction when the building was handed over on 30 April 2021.

– The construction project has been conducted in the middle of significant built heritage and a university campus in use. The demanding construction project was completed successfully on schedule and budget, as well as in good cooperation with all project parties and local operators, says Aki Havia from University Properties of Finland Ltd (SYK).

The special references and grounds for granting the diploma were as follows: The site has been handed over to the customer in the agreed schedule, fully completed. The project was completed within the budget, implementing the goals set by users. Excellent cooperation and mutual spirit between the parties were realised in the project. The project involved a targeted, solution-centred, open and respectful working manner, as well as a culture of conversation, even during exceptional circumstances.

– When everyone works towards a common destination and goal, the end result is excellent. Now the building is ready, and the parties that participated in the project have reason to be very proud. Open and inspiring cooperation from the start has boosted the demanding construction project. It has been great to build a unique, environmentally efficient and functioning building that will become a significant centre for Finnish natural science research and training, says Profit Centre Manager Vesa Hintukainen from Skanska Talonrakennus Oy.

Responsible construction

According to main architect Viitanen, the designing work was guided by the idea that Aurum’s common lobby would become the meeting place of the campus area. Another important factor is environmental responsibility.

The environment is considered in all design solutions, such as material choices and spatial efficiency. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of the building, and geothermal energy is utilised for heating and cooling.

Aurum has also received the BREEAM environmental certificate for the design stage with an Excellent grade as the first university building in Finland. The points achieved by Aurum, 77.7%, are exceptionally high. At the time this article is published, Aurum’s points are the fourth highest of all BREEAM certified construction projects in Finland.

– Aurum is located in the medieval built heritage area in Turku and in the national urban park area. The long history of Turku and the layered structure of the built environment are visible for an exceptionally long period, and so is the history of building schools, developed from a cathedral school that once functioned in the walls surrounding Turku Cathedral. Nowadays, the buildings of Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku are located in the Turku Cathedral’s environment, integrated in the urban structure.  The Aurum building, in fact, reminds us of the past, because its facade was built with the same material and colour tone that were used in the Yliopistonmäki buildings, but in a different size, explains the building’s main designer Piia Viitanen from Aihio Architects.

The environment of Yliopistonmäki in Turku has set its own requirements for designing work. The main building of the University of Turku, which is important in terms of cultural history and designed by architect Aarne Ervi, has been noted for material choices, for example.

Contact information from University Properties of Finland Ltd:

Director, Property Development and Maintenance, Aki Havia
tel. +358 40 527 7511
e-mail: aki.havia@sykoy.fi

Director, Customer Relations, Jessica Örn
tel. +358 400 910 296
e-mail: jessica.orn@sykoy.fi

Photo (C): Wellu Hämäläinen

 

The University Properties of Finland Ltd (SYK) is a nationwide owner and developer of university properties outside of the Helsinki metropolitan area. Our mission is to create campuses with great appeal and opportunities to fuel regional growth by combining science, business and vibrant urban life. We offer spatial solutions of the future for higher education institutions and companies as well as cost-efficient premises meeting the needs of our customers. SYK is owned by the Finnish state and 9 universities. The company’s balance sheet value is approximately EUR 1.4 billion, and is comprised of 210 university buildings. In 2020, the turnover was EUR 170.5 million. www.sykoy.fi