A Blanc – Renovating for a more sustainable campus
The renovation of the Otaniemi shopping centre, originally completed in the 1960s and designed by Alvar Aalto, also paid attention to the building’s sustainable development solutions.
The renovation of the old Otaniemi shopping centre (now A Blanc), which was built in two parts in 1961 and 1969, was completed in the summer of 2021. The building technology systems of the building were completely renovated the façade was repaired and restored. The renovation significantly extended the life of the building and also diversified the campus services. For example, a cozy summer terrace was built in front of the shopping center.
-Sustainable campus doesn’t just mean decreasing electricity or water consumption. It can be seen as a wholeness, where material-rich buildings can be given additional years by improving and repairing, especially in the case of historically significant properties. In addition, social sustainability and the well-being of the campus users grow as the campus services improve, says Satu Kankaala, Head of Business Development and Sustainability (Aalto CRE).
The A Blanc façade and character are conserved, which brought about challenges, especially in the renewal of building technology systems. But with innovative solutions, all the necessary changes were made. A new cooling system was built on the property, consisting of a cold water station and free cooling. The condensate is led to the outside air with a liquid cooler. In terms of ventilation, the facility mainly opted for a decentralized ventilation system with smaller business-specific ventilation equipment with heat recovery.
The renovation also included two 180-meter-deep geothermal wells, from which geothermal heat is taken for preheating and cooling the ventilation. These energy wells increase the annual efficiency of heat recovery in the restaurant premises. The energy efficiency of the shopping center improved significantly with the renovation, and considering the building technology systems, the building is now equivalent in energy efficiency as a newly built building would be.
A Blanc has received much positive feedback for its attractive services as well. The shopping center, which is currently launched as a “sibling pair” of the shopping center A Bloc, includes now health services, a café, a hairdresser and a costume rental.