The Administration Building of the University of Helsinki is being transformed into the new Think Corner, and is due to open in 2017.
Established a few years ago, Think Corner has been a huge success, and now the University plans to expand it further. A new, even more versatile Think Corner will open in the current Administration Building during Finland’s 100th year of independence.
An architectural competition has now been launched to transform the lower levels of the Administration Building into a new kind of meeting place for research and the public. The upper floors will feature open-plan multi-use office space which will be rented out to the University’s partners.
“This is a globally unique project. There have been many different types of pop-up spaces to showcase research, but we’ve never seen such a versatile, permanent solution anywhere else,” states Director of Communications Kirsti Lehmusto.
Think Corner designed collaboratively
The building systems in the facility are out of date and will be completely renovated. Its lower floors will house the new Think Corner, featuring a scientific events centre, a café-restaurant, partnership and work spaces as well as an international visitors’ centre. Members of the University community, partners and users will be invited to participate in designing the services and use of the facilities.
Employees currently working in the Administration Building will move out in autumn 2015. The University will try to relocate them all to other work spaces on the City Centre Campus.
The new Think Corner will also elevate the University and its research to a more prominent position in the centre of Helsinki.
”Porthania, the Main Building and the coming Think Corner will form the heart of the City Centre Campus,” Lehmusto says.
New cooperation opportunities
The goal is to make Think Corner a meeting place for research, the public and society. It offers social institutions new, perhaps unrecognised methods of cooperating with the University.
Community relations are an increasingly important duty for universities, in Finland and abroad.
“For example, the EU Horizon 2020 research funding requires that the research project be open to community relations. For this reason, Think Corner has been of interest to international universities and other organisations,” states Lehmusto.
Lehmusto is particularly happy with the fact that members of the University community have embraced Think Corner. Opened during Helsinki’s year as World Design Capital, 2012, the space has remained in high demand once the academic community realised its potential.
During Helsinki’s Design Capital year, Think Corner hosted more than 700 presentations on a variety of academic themes, and more than 400 workshops for people of different ages. The daily number of visitors was approximately 300–500. In 2013, Think Corner moved to Porthania, where its themed evenings have been very popular.
“Think Corner has connected research and researchers from different fields, and has displayed the diversity of the University’s research to the outside world,” Lehmusto enthuses.