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Sello Chamber Music Auditorium and Juvenalia School of Music
Espoo, Finland, 2003

Sello Chamber Music Auditorium and Juvenalia School of Music

Client: Real estate limited Kiinteistö Oy Kauppakeskus Sello, City of Espoo
Location: Leppävaara, Espoo, Finland
Year of completion: 2003
Gross area: 5 460 m²
Volume: 33 500 m³

Leppävaara is one of the five regional centres in Espoo city. The new commercial centre Sello is the heart of the region as it includes the Regional Library, the Sello Music Hall, facilities for the regional Music College Juvenalia and Espoo Department of Culture. Because of the public transport terminals, Sello is also the junction point of an area that expands over the city limits. It is located on one of the busiest traffic routes of Finland, Ring Road I, and it serves as the end terminal of the new city rail line and as the exchange terminal of regional bus lines. The first stage of Sello was completed in 2003 and the second in 2005.

In terms of the townscape, the aim was to create a sufficiently impressive entity, taking into consideration the heights of the surrounding buildings. The south elevation of the complex is characterised by small-scale features, while the elevations towards the rail line and Ring Road I display large-scale construction, discernible from a long way off. The architecture is based on the versatility of the functions. The cultural buildings have the impression of being public.

The cultural buildings are located on the roof of the supermarkets, which operate at street level. They surround the common space and the market place on Viaporintori Square, a series of outdoor squares. This is also the main level of the shopping gallery. The market places on various levels and the public transport terminal are connected by the glass-roofed gallery passages and the internal squares. Ratsutori Square is the other significant square. It is composed of two levels, Sello's entrance level and the street level of Sellonallas Basin. A ceremonious southward staircase lying between these levels may also be used for entertainment activities.

The central space of the Music House is the Sellosali Music Hall. This hall acts both as the regional cultural centre and as a music hall for the whole Greater Helsinki area. It has been designed as a high-class concert hall for acoustic chamber music, but may also be used as a venue for dance, theatre and opera, as well as for electric music. The hall is also used as a music-recording studio. The hall seats an audience of 400. The instrument classes and administrative rooms of the Music College Juvenalia are located in a separate wing towards the Library. A steel-glass bridge on the second floor level connects the Music House and the Library.

The starting point of the Sellosali Music Hall is a simple rectangular room; 23m deep, 16.8m wide and 13m high. The stage is 16.8m wide and 10.8m deep. The rising grandstand is built on a steel frame. The illuminated niches on the hall walls prevent impact echo between parallel walls and serve as sound diffusers. The horizontal shelves on the centre part of the walls produce rapid reflections to the musicians and increase horizontal sound energy.

Due to the location of the hall, the insulation of background noise was a particularly demanding task. Thus the hall is made as a floating structure separated from the rest of the building frame by the room-inside-room principle. The floor is a floating concrete slab floor. The walls and the ceiling are made of double gypsum boards, and together with all the technical systems, they are installed on a steel frame separated by means of vibration absorbers from the concrete structures of the building.

The facades of cultural buildings are covered with dark patinated copper cassettes, baked aluminium gratings and baltic brown granite. On Leppävaarankatu Street the central theme is the arcade passage of steel construction, which runs in front of the Library, as well as the wooden lattice walls, which are supported on it to cut external heat loads. The covered arcade structure runs all the way to the Music House. In the commercial centre the external materials include acid resistance steel cassettes, natural stone and baked aluminium lattices.