The teachers and students of the University of Jyväskylä have welcomed Ruusupuisto with enthusiasm. The building is designed to suit the modern methods of work, as people prefer open-plan spaces to solitary studies. When spatial configuration was finalised in collaboration with the users.
The Faculty of Education, the Finnish Institute for Educational Research and the nearly 300-strong staff of the Open University moved into the new, modern premises in autumn 2015.
The biggest change at Ruusupuisto compared to before is the openness of the space and transparency of work.
“There are more of us now physically sharing the same space. Previously we sat isolated each in our own office, whereas now, most of us work in the multi-user space,” says Paula Hassinen from the Faculty of Education and Psychology.
Everyone under one roof
To have their own building had been a long-held dream of the faculty. The old premises had become far too small with the expanding number of users, and people were scattered around into several buildings. The common spirit suffered. The goal was to have the entire staff within the same four walls. The old premises also had problems with the air quality.
The design was based on a modern multi-user solution, with different zones for different functions.
“Some were sceptical about the concept to begin with because peace and quiet, their own office and their own books are important to researchers. The issues were discussed in workshops, and the final visions eventually crystallised.
According to Paula Hassinen, the users of the building have a say in what type of facilities would serve them best in their work. The perspective of different users and the specific requirements of their work were taken into consideration.
“We had several meetings and other opportunities to voice our opinions.”
Thinking outside the silo
The result is a solution with a slightly smaller proportion of open-place space as was originally planned. The staff now occupy four “cubes” on three floors, with 25 persons in each cube. Faculty members who study and teach the same subject or theme, work together regardless of their line organisation.
Hassinen says the overall reactions have been positive.
“This is a great environment for work. The amount of light and the spaciousness is good for us. What is more, there have been no problems with the indoor air.”
The staircase in the lobby is Hassinen’s favourite feature. It is a beautiful place for teachers and students to meet.