Opinmäki School and Learning Centre
Opinmäki School is a large community centre in the Suurpelto district of Espoo offering a bold interpretation of spatial clarity. The stripped concrete and wood surfaces draw attention to the space and the life taking place inside. The floor plan is a logical system of adjoining cubes leading from the lobby through to the smallest kindergarten rooms, offering an inspiring environment for independent learning. It currently stands alone in an empty landscape waiting for new buildings to spring up around it. The main entrance – a metal canopy between two massive brick volumes – has a stern demeanour, but this vanishes as we enter the lobby, which is calm and welcoming. The elegant outdoor-indoor integration of materials makes the building ‘easy to read’. All indoor surfaces repeat a frugal palette of concrete, wood, white paint and metal, allowing users to add their own colours to the space. The classrooms are all-white to help pupils concentrate. There are both traditional and half-open classrooms, helping children learn to focus amid busy modern surroundings. The yards are designed to withstand heavy daily usage by a thousand children: no greenery is planted immediately next to the school.