Underground Station in Espoo
The underground railway service in Helsinki was opened in 1982 and consisted of a single line, which ran from the city centre to the eastern suburbs, where it then divided into separate branches. Plans already existed in the 1990s to extend the underground in a westerly direction to the neighbouring town of Espoo.
For political and economic reasons, however, the implementation of these plans drew itself out because the first stretch was to pass beneath the Baltic and involved a correspondingly high investment. In the end, agreement was reached to build the new stations with a platform length of only 90 metres instead of 135 metres, as had been the case previously, and to have shorter trains running at a greater frequency. At the end of 2017, the first eight stations were taken into operation. A further five are under construction.
The new station at Aalto University is only 11 minutes from the centre of Helsinki and provides access to the extensive campus in the district of Otaniemi. The core of this complex was designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1950s. Since then it has been subject to constant expansion. The underground here is reached via two entrance pavilions that were skilfully integrated in the existing development. The main entrance merges seamlessly with a building complex of the university. This was replanned jointly with the underground and incorporates a shopping centre as well. An ancillary entrance, providing access to the platform from the opposite end, is attached to an existing research building. In a third position, there is also an escape staircase.
Externally and internally the architects availed themselves of a modest range of materials, comprising glass, exposed concrete, granite and patinated copper. The dominant element of the design is the soffit of perforated Corten-steel sheeting that links the realms above and below ground. Divided into triangular elements, this folded construction extends from the entrance areas, down over the escalators to the platform. Daylight enters the station via a large pyramidal roof light above the main entrance.
This feature was originally published in detail-online.com.