Dipoli, the listed iconic and experimental student union building of Helsinki University of Technology designed by Raili and Reima Pietilä and completed in 1966 has gone through a complete renovation and gotten a new life as the main building of Aalto University. The building reopened for fall semester 2017.
Dipoli will function as a meeting place for the university administration, the academic community, the students and other stake holders. All of these parties have been activated in the spatial re-design process that turned the building into a sustainable, flexible workspace of the future. In addition to housing the administration, Dipoli will also continue to function as the prime location for important lecture events and university festivities, as well as act as a display platform for the university’s research and design projects. Dipoli’s restaurants, cafeterias and bar cater for both students and staff members.
Dipoli is Aalto University’s test lab for flexible working methods and mobile work. Two hundred of the university’s administrative employees will use the building as their base. The design team’s aim was to re-radicalize Dipoli by creating a fresh, open and dynamic user experience, not forgetting the original designers’ vision.
The building, located on the edge of the Alvar Aalto designed Otaniemi campus, is the result of an architectural competition organized in 1961, where the Pietiläs’ entry was originally awarded shared 2nd prize and later selected as the winner of the second competition organized between the two 2nd prize win-ners. The renovation was part of the larger campus reorganization project linked to the former Helsinki University of Technology campus becoming the main campus of Aalto University, born out of the merger of three Helsinki area universities.
Prior to the renovation Dipoli functioned as a conference center for a period of 20 years.