Finalist 357 The Diagonal Agora
The proposal has in some aspects evolved from the draft design of Stage 1. The architectonic concept’s basic solutions, however, have remained the same. The changes that have been carried out are small but affect considerably the overall image. The starting points of the massing in Stage 1 were promising. The shape of the building had understandably been derived from the fitting of the room programme onto this particular building location. The facade system was, however, unnecessarily awkward, and in the further design guidelines it was stated that the overall solution could take a simplification of the facades. In this respect, the design of Stage 2 did not fulfil the expectations set for it.
The changes in the building mass have made the overall scheme restless. In Stage 1 the mass remained under control as the glazed exterior walls were straight. The complex mass remained tight. Now, the folding inwards of the mass by the main entrance and the folding of the terrace construction at the north-west corner break the totality, making it more disorganised. The facade system is still rather small-scale, and does not sufficiently highlight the in itself laudable largescale building volume. The proposed roof construction is unnecessarily complex and would be technically extremely challenging to realise.
The east façade was promising in the Stage 1 design. In Stage 2 it has become weaker. It no longer forms a comprehensive totality with the other façades of the building, but rather in terms of its expression, is a more separate part.
The proposal has developed functionally since Stage 1. The entrances are easy to find and the groundfloor level is well functioning. Spatially, the proposal is impressive. The diagonal lobby space runs beautifully through the building. On the different floors there are places with a very different character, both in terms of atmosphere and spatially. The spaces successfully open out and the surrounding scenery has been utilised well in their orientation. The extensive open spaces between the floors, however, are difficult to manage acoustically. The upper two floors are still slightly narrow; the circulation areas are emphasised and there is inadequate flexibility in the spaces. The spaces also remain somewhat at a distance from the façade on the west side.
The area of the building envelope is one of the largest among the entries, and the window area is the largest, which has increased thermal loss. However, the double façade construction has been used skilfully, and consequently the thermal losses have been kept in check, and the result is the best utilisation of daylight and best energy efficiency. At the same time, placing the large machine rooms in the basement is disadvantageous and a clear sacrifice to the architectonic concept.
The proposed structural system is challenging, but with considerable further design work it can be developed so as to make it feasible. The wood construction brings a pleasant warm atmosphere to the interiors, assuming that the building’s fire safety class P1 would allow the wood surfaces to be exposed in the proposed way. In regards to its programme floor area, the proposal exceeds slightly the competition room programme. The volume of the proposal is rather large.
The reservation for the City Centre Tunnel has been taken into consideration. The exit route stairs and ventilation shaft have been placed above the main tunnel – but they cannot be placed there. Therefore, the exit route stairs and ventilation shaft are missing. The proposal has a strong overall appearance both architectonically and in regard to the cityscape.