Kalasatama School and Daycare Interior

Type: Competition 1st Prize
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Status: Completed - 2016
Year: 2012
Client: City of Helsinki

The new and rapidly growing district of Kalasatama will have its own day care centre and school. The colourful and visually inviting school has no conventional pupils’ desks or stuffy classrooms.

It will be built in two stages. Once completed, the children will receive their education from nursery school to preschool and all the way to the end of comprehensive school in this new building.

The teaching facilities of the school are designed to support the basic premises of the latest pedagogy. The environment provides stimuli and encourages interactivity. The teaching facilities and furniture are tailored for specific functions, and the pupils move between them over the course of the school day. The space and furniture solutions bring the pupils closer to the teacher and can be modified for different teaching situations. The spaces can be easily altered and joined together by opening partition walls. The multi-purpose design also allows function- and phenomenon-based learning.

The school building is an educational tool itself. All of the technical equipment and functions of the building are left out in the open to see and study. The pupils can see where fresh air comes from and where water goes. The visible technical equipment give the indoors a graphical and industrial feel, as if one was inside a gigantic machine. A great deal of wood was used for decoration. The warm plywood surfaces are joined together by contrasting matt black.

All fixed furniture are specifically tailored for the school building and its pedagogic needs. The choice of materials was affected by the fact that shoes are not worn inside the building.

In the school building, learning is possible also when one is not sitting behind a desk. The conventional tables and chairs are complemented by circular seats, beanbags and gym balls. All non-fixed furniture can be easily moved. The tables have casters and the chairs are stackable. Different pieces of furniture blend well and can be used in other facilities.

The large-scale paintings by artist Heli Hiltunen are an integral part of the school building and the school is part of the Percent for Art -project.

© Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman
© Marc Goodwin