Paying tribute to the original design with modern surface materials
Aalto University Töölö, formerly the School of Business, is a significant building that is familiar to many. During comprehensive renovations, the desire was to return the building to its 1950s glory – and the end result is a fine tribute to the original design.
The renovation planning was handled by Arkkitehtitoimisto SARC, with Erkki Ölander as the principal architect. Today, the facilities are used by Aalto EE for management training and Restaurant Töölö, which is open to the public.
When working with a building with architectural or historical significance, a key objective is to ensure that the design reproducing the original appearance works with the latest technology. Building maintenance technology is often included beneath the surface materials. This means that higher fire-resistant classes and improved acoustic performance are required from the surface materials.
The decisions regarding the surface materials used in significant buildings are made in cooperation and require specific knowledge of styles, history, and materials. A representative from the Finnish Heritage Agency is also often included in the design, which was also the case here. The skills and knowledge of specialists from various fields are needed to achieve good results. At Puucomp, we are used to finding solutions to challenging material-related issues. The Töölö campus is a magnificent complex, and it is great that the building was preserved and brought in line with current standards for regular use.
Veneer-surfaced interior cladding panels with high fire-resistance classes
The Töölö campus is a brilliant example of wood usage in interior cladding and its combination with light surfaces. The building is included in the Docomomo International Register, which focuses on the conservation of Modern Architecture.
For the Töölö campus, we provided both veneer surfaced and painted Puucomp Premium interior cladding panels. Some of the veneer panels also feature acoustic treatment, such as the wood veneer panels in the dropped ceiling of the entrance lobby of the Töölö campus. The difference in acoustics is distinct when you move from the loftier section of the lobby to the lower entrance area, where acoustic panels have not been used.
The panels are installed into the dropped ceiling in a style typical to the time. This is highlighted well by the concealed attachment of the panels and the beveling of the veneer panels. Puucomp Premium – the strong construction of the panels enables deep and durable bevels, as well as concealed fixing.
Some of the panels in the magnificent wood cladding of the Töölö campus ballroom have been replaced – but which ones? The change is hard to spot. The veneer panels used in the second-floor lobby are also made by Puucomp. Any of us can also visit Restaurant Töölö, which is the previous site of the student restaurant Rafla. The style is different, but the new look is more suitable for a more distinguished restaurant. The ceiling is covered partially with painted and partially with wood veneer-surfaced interior cladding panels. The panels were custom-made for the building, based on on-site measurements, and delivered ready for installation. Successful installation is part of a neat and tidy finish.
Original architects Woldemar Baeckman and Hugo Harmia. Interior decoration plays an important role here and the original design was produced by interior designers Olli Borg, Ilmari Tapiovaara, and Maija Heikinheimo.