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Photo: Wellu Hämäläinen.

The Aurum building has been completed

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.

Photo: SYK Oy.

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. 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 move to Aurum will give a further boost to the cooperation between Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku. The possibility to share knowledge in open, common laboratories will make collaboration easier and is expected to revive work culture.

“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.

Photo: Wellu Hämäläinen.

Responsible construction

According to main architect Piia 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.

Photo: Wellu Hämäläinen.

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,” says 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.