Tommila Architects have been working on several buildings of the new Metropolia campus, which unites all the arts-based faculties. While the other projects have been reconfigurations of existing buildings, the Soiva building is new, but is physically linked to the others through the large lower ground floor cafe-restaurant. Most of the vast industrial spaces occupied previously by the crafts industries have been repurposed for the educational institution.
The Soiva building was conceived in response to the cityscape, while also developing an architectural language using musical references. For example, the golden accents on the window casings and the recessed entrance brass panelling were inspired by wind instruments. Furthermore the architects looked at Medieval musical notation, when they created the asymmetrical rhythm for the facade window composition. These subtle, but highly distinctive details, mark the façade sheathed with black fired bricks, giving the building its own character standing out from its mostly residential neighbours.
The colour scheme of black and gold of the exterior continues on the ground floor inside. It is a reflection on the ’darker’ musical genres practised inside the building. The raw quality is accentuated by the in situ concrete floor and shuttered concrete columns, where imprints of the formwork can be seen. This roughness provides a lively contrast with the elegant, restrained approach to the joinery and metalwork around it.
Across the central atrium topped by a large rooflight on the fifth floor, the tonal range lightens up. Daylight is reflected off the cubic forms, which break up the the void in the middle and provide an economic formal solution, allowing light and sound to circulate, while providing a variety of enclosed and open-plan spaces. Rehearsal studios, classrooms and communal study areas of different sizes are arranged over five floors. The scattered composition of the exterior windows is reflected in the interior with the playful arrangement of light panels and interior windows. Like a jazz composition, this lends a more freeform dynamic to the formal geometry of the building.