The Oulu joint campus is created through collaborative development

Oulu University of Applied Sciences is facing a move. Located on four different campuses today, Oulu University of Applied Sciences will mainly operate on the Linnanmaa campus from 2020 onwards. It will share the campus with the University of Oulu. However, students and teachers in the field of social services and healthcare will remain in their current locations.

The joint campus in Oulu has been designed using the collaborative development method. The needs and wishes of future users have been used as inputs in the planning and design process, marking a departure from the traditional approach. In practice, this has taken place in contexts such as the pop-up workshops that began less than a year ago.

“The workshops were open to our personnel as well as our students. We had good turnouts and people came in with an enthusiastic attitude,” says Rector Jouko Paaso.

Paaso points out that the move to a new campus is a big decision. Big decisions often create a feeling of uncertainty about the future: will the organisation’s functions continue as they are, or will there be cuts of some kind?

“When we engaged people in the planning and design process and they saw that there will be premises for practically all of our existing functions, they developed a stronger sense of certainty and continuity. It was important to give people the opportunity to think about solutions for future functions and to genuinely influence how things will be,” Paaso adds.

More space for teams

The most visible change compared to the old premises is the smaller number of large classrooms. The new premises are designed to support teamwork through flexible and easily adaptable space.

“One thing we have noticed here at our current premises is that it is important to have space for working in small groups. We have wide hallways here and I often see students get together in small groups to work on their assignments,” Paaso explains.

Some of Oulu University of Applied Sciences’ particular needs include laboratories for practical learning as well as space for students of dance and music. There will still be a need for traditional lecture halls as well, but not to the same extent as before.

“Our future spatial needs will be increasingly defined by digitalisation, online education and providing learning opportunities independent of place and time,” Jouko Paaso explains.