Lahti University of Applied sciences
Lahti University of Applied Sciences , LAB (aiemmin LAMK) has a new campus, with the construction of fireproof facilities for its five thousand students in the former Isku furniture factory in Mukkula.
To get an idea of the size of the building, you walk through the glass cube that serves as the entrance to the polytechnic and into the hustle and bustle of the lunch restaurant. Tables, chairs, display cases, lines and various salad bars fill the entire ground floor. In restaurant world, this space - the size of a football pitch by eye - seats 900 customers. This is also where Isku's head office and employees of many other companies on the site eat.
All the students and 400 staff members of the University of Applied Sciences now work under one roof in modern, state-of-the-art facilities. Previously, the various fields of study were scattered over five sites in the centre of Lahti. LAMK offers courses in business and tourism, design and media, technology and social and health services.
Daylight filters beautifully through the large windows of the 60-year-old factory to the two floors of the campus. The entire building covers 75 000 square metres, of which the UAS occupies one third.
Isku, the owner of the property, says the renovation of the factory cost up to €40 million. The building was stripped down to a skeleton, leaving only the walls standing. Then modern building technology with geothermal heat pumps and photovoltaic systems was added.
Satu Hyökki, the project manager who led and coordinated the process for the new campus area on the UAS side, is still wiping the sweat off her brow after six years of thinking, planning, renovating and moving. She is relieved that the students and the rest of the campus community have embraced the new facilities and solutions with enthusiasm.
"This journey has had its fair share of bumps in the road, but I dare say we've already done a great job in achieving what we set out to do," says Hyökki with a nod.
"We wanted a modern learning environment with open, public and private spaces. One that works 24/7 if necessary. The interaction between the students and the business world is also unique. It will certainly lead to many interesting projects," Satu Hyökki believes. After LAB and Isku, the building will still have almost a third of its space available for rent to companies.
In addition to large, small and adaptable teaching spaces, the school has a variety of places and points for students to hang out, meet and work in teams. Students also run a bar and a café in the building. At the beginning of the year, a gym, group exercise rooms and a yoga studio will be completed in the colourful and bright corridors. The campus also has its own student-run radio station, which you can listen to online.
Toni Hämäläinen, Sales Manager at Audico Systems, says the project was the largest school project Audico has been involved in so far. Audico acted as a partner and subcontractor to Lyreco Oy on the project.
"A couple of years ago, when I first walked into the building, the floor on the first floor was earthen, i.e. nothing but sand. Soon I received an Excel file of the school's plans and needs in my e-mail, 80 megabytes in size," says Hämäläinen, recalling the larger-than-usual scale of the project.
"There are about 100 rooms in the building, which we equipped with AV technology. They consist of 48 different room types. In technical terms, the crown jewel of the building is the 600-seat auditorium, which can be divided into three sections of different sizes. If necessary, it can be adapted into a theatre stage or a rock stage," says Hämäläinen.
As I am leaving the attractive building, a group of four students in a small lounge are fiddling with their laptops and muttering in unison that the best thing about the new campus is the bright and clean facilities and the fact that students and staff from different disciplines can now be seen every day.
"It creates cohesion and hopefully enables a wide range of cooperation. People are so comfortable here that many stay in the house all day. That's why there's a positive buzz from morning till late evening," they say.
TEXT BY Tom Nyman
PHOTOS: Lahti University of Applied Sciences and Audico
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