A functional and synergy review was carried out in the spring of 2020 in the Savilahti campus of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. User-oriented joint development helped identify new solutions for creating modern working and study facilities. One of the identified solutions is a new expanding atrium that enables versatile spaces for different needs.

Changes in the use of premises guide new actions

The preliminary phase of the functionality and synergy review of the Savilahti campus started in August 2019. At that time, a space review was also carried out in the unused special laboratory space of the Canthia building. As the laboratory moved to the Snellmania building two years earlier, a space of about 1,400 m2 has remained unused. At the same time, the university had started an investigation regarding the relocation of health science activities currently located in Snellmania to the Canthia and Mediteknia buildings. The largest function planned for relocation was biomedicine.

The premises review created the idea of a study HUB. The existing learning centre and the special laboratory facility below it would be combined with an opening of 200 m2. The floors of the spacious atrium would be combined by event stairs, and an extensive multi-use teaching space would be created in the space.

“Even though there were many phases in the entity that we have been able to do on digital platforms, physical presence in the room was an important part of the creation of such an innovation,” says Esko Ollikainen, Account Manager at SYK.

Focus on identifying synergy across department boundaries

In the spring of 2020, a functionality and synergy survey was conducted for the Savilahti campus. The aim was to determine a joint facility strategy for the university and SYK. Implemented by utilising joint development work, the survey enabled the involvement of personnel and students in the process.

“Several workshops and pop-up events were held as part of the joint development work. The broad and enthusiastic participation of personnel and students was gratifying,” Ollikainen continues

“The biggest risk of failure in the project is that users cannot be made to be committed to joint development. However, it was great to notice the active involvement of the users of facilities in the Savilahti campus throughout the process. From the perspective of inclusion, it is important that users have enough time to participate,” says Tarja Harjula, Senior Real Estate Manager at the University of Eastern Finland.

The aim of the review is to ensure appropriate future learning environments and workspaces for the university that take into account the needs of different users in work requiring concentration, social encounters and networking. In the review, the synergy opportunities for different resources such as people, equipment and premises were identified across department boundaries. Modern comfortable facilities increase the appeal of the campus. At the same time, space efficiency could be improved as a by-product.

From review to the project planning stage

The functionality and synergy review was completed in June 2020 when it was presented to the university’s management team. The management team was very pleased with the result of the review. The intention was to advance to the project planning stage in the autumn of 2020, but the pandemic postponed the start of the project by a year.

“The pandemic changed our way of using premises, which is why we are now creating a campus that takes into account future spatial needs, the suitability for multi-location work and study, without forgetting health and safety,” Harjula says.


© Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy 2020