The first phase of the renovation of the University of Helsinki Main Building is about to commence in July. The rector of the University has made a decision to carry out the renovation, and the work can begin once the building permit has been granted. The first renovation phase focuses on the building facing Senate Square, designed by C.L. Engel, as well as the two-storey wings on Yliopistonkatu and Aleksanterinkatu designed by J.S. Sirén.
The renovation is aimed at bringing the facilities up to date with current technical and functional requirements, with July 2021 as the targeted time of completion.
“The renovation of the Main Building will improve building technology and accessibility as well as modernise teaching facilities. Our goal is to bring the facilities up to date to meet the modern needs of teaching, studying and working, while honouring the building’s history,” says Vice-Rector Tom Böhling.
Planning for the project has been conducted in close cooperation with the Finnish Heritage Agency and building control services. For the planning and implementation, a project alliance was established, with the University of Helsinki Funds, architecture office Jeskanen-Repo-Teränne and the principal constructor YIT as partners. The overall investment required for the renovation is approximately €40 million, for which the University of Helsinki Funds carries the responsibility.
“The University of Helsinki has an important duty in maintaining and preserving Finnish cultural heritage. Right now, maintaining the ability to fulfil this duty requires that the Main Building is renovated. We are very happy to have the expertise of YIT and Jeskanen-Repo-Teränne Arkkitehdit Oy at our disposal,” Böhling states.
Changes to routes and Main Building services
Due to the renovation, the construction site surrounding the Main Building will be fenced off, while the structures to be preserved inside the building will be protected in July. The actual renovation work will begin in August in the form of demolition work in the wing on Yliopistonkatu.
For the construction site phase, Yliopistonkatu will be closed to through traffic between Unioninkatu and Fabianinkatu, with site cabins placed on the street section. Pedestrian access on the streets will be maintained, and the car route to the courtyard of the National Library will remain open. The new side of the Main Building on Fabianinkatu will remain open during the renovation, but with reduced opening hours.
Staff and student restaurants will remain operational at least until late 2019. The courtyards of the Main Building are part of the construction site. Entrance to the facilities available during the renovation will be via the doors on Fabianinkatu.