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Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages


When planning the Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages, we started to think about what kind of requirements blended learning or hybrid teaching would bring to a school building that has a multicultural heart beating inside. In the language high school, you can study 13 different languages (Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic). A new Korean language course is coming to the language selection in autumn 2021.


We wanted to design an open and airy building whose operation can also be seen from the outside. Visual connections between spaces create a sense of community and safety and, above all, a sense of security. The idea has also been to support active studying as much as possible, and therefore the well-being of young people and staff has been one of our main themes, and it can be seen in both space solutions and technology solutions.


We from learning countries have visited numerous schools alone and with groups, and have noticed very different practices in how the visit is created. International guests in particular usually need a space or spaces where they can also be in peace, if necessary, and study their own courses. Since Kielilukio has visitors every week, our experience was useful in this context.


The operational culture of the high school includes developing interaction skills, justifying one's opinions, performing together and alone. That's why we have created different levels of performance and performance practice places. There are several stages and performance venues on each floor. On the 4th floor, there is still a performance space in the teaching space, which can be opened to the common learning area, for example for the school's own TED-talk event.


Teaching facilities do not all have to be the same. Their size and location in the blocks guide their use. We have enriched the teaching facilities so that they support certain functions better. Transformable spaces create the conditions for versatile working.


Our design solution has spaces for a wide variety of working and living - quiet, interactive, group and teacher-led work


Leisurely way in working is likely to be a new skill of the future. Interior coloring supports relaxation and concentration. Thoughtful use of colors and material choices also improves the orientation of the building. The lack of urgency comes from the high-quality sound world, and the fact that there are many different places to retreat and have a calm conversation. The feeling of leisure increases as you move up the floors.


We have done a lot to support physical activity. Many places and elements that increase physical activity have been placed in the open learning areas of the 1st floor and other floors. Street work out and the bouldering wall in the gymnasium will be popular.


The well-being of the staff was very important in our planning. A well-being teacher is the best thing a student can hope for. A teacher's job is demanding and sometimes you even need a rest room to recover, mostly peer support and good stories in a cozy place are enough. The staff's break room is peaceful. There are many different working spaces and meetings nearby. It is also important that it is easy to hold meetings and negotiations in this same area.

The planning goals of the Helsinki language high school are presented in the functional requirements and goals document of the Helsinki language high school, prepared by the city of Helsinki city. Our design solutions are built on the basis of these requirements and goals.






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