Otaniemi – a unique innovation hub

The Aalto University metro station in Otaniemi serves as a gateway to an expanding higher education campus. The majority of the university’s core operations will be located here by 2021.

The Aalto University campus is a truly unique collaborative environment. This ecosystem has an ethos firmly based on openness, experimentation and collaboration and is capable of attracting students, researchers, lecturers and other staff and partners from around the world. Due to open soon at the campus is A Grid, one of Europe’s largest growth business hubs, which is also set to house the European Space Agency’s (ESA) new arctic space accelerator. The first United Nations Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL) will also be established in Otaniemi at the A Grid hub.

Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

Close to the Aalto University station in Otaniemi is a unique geothermal energy project that has been attracting significant international attention. According to the plans for the area, energy company St1 will be drill to a depth of seven kilometres. The deepest drill ever undertaken in Finland, this pilot project will create Finland’s first ever geothermal energy plant capable of generating 40 megawatts of emission-free heating.

The new metro service will also transport local secondary school pupils to the Aalto campus. The pupils will study at the university as part of the School as a Service model. Thanks to the metro, learning can be freed from the confines of a single school building and delivered as a multi-faceted service, which will also unlock greater efficiencies with regard to facilities. Initial calculations suggest that the School as a Service innovation may bring cost savings of up to 25% compared with an investment-based model.

Otaniemi and Keilaniemi area forms a unique innovation cluster. Aalto University, the renowned scientific and research community, national and international companies and Startup Sauna - the birthplace of Slush - thrive here. The campus and research area of Otaniemi is the largest hub of high technology, innovation and business hub in Finland and Northern Europe. It features a mix of world-class research organisations, academic institutes and over 800 companies from start-ups to multinational corporations operating in a compact 2×2 km campus - twice selected by the EU as one of the most innovative regions in Europe. A variety of cultural experiences within walking distance in Tapiola enrich this scientific and economic concentration.

Otaniemi 2030 mennessä
Illustration: A-Konsultit

Currently some 3,800 people reside in the Otaniemi‒Keilaniemi area and the population is expected to grow to 10,000 by 2050.

Distance from Helsinki Central Railway Station

12 minutes by metro

Otaniemi development

In Otaniemi, the focus will be on the Aalto University premises. Otaniemi has also become more closely connected with nearby Tapiola and the metro line has connected the area more closely to Helsinki.

The recently refurbished Dipoli building has also been given a new lease of life and now serves as Aalto University’s main building.

The Alvar Aalto-designed university library from 1970 has also been renovated to create a state-of-the-art learning centre, while Helsinki University of Technology’s former main building in Otakaari 1 has been updated to create the so-called Undergraduate Centre.

Otaniemi is growing over the ring road – space of science and the economy

Otaniemi’s traffic connections will improve even further once the Jokeri Light Rail Line starts running in the early 2020s. There will be three Jokeri Light Rail Line stops in Otaniemi.

Most important development projects


Photo: Olli Häkämies

Already under construction is Väre, Aalto University’s new art and design school, due to relocate from Helsinki’s Arabia neighbourhood to Otaniemi. Väre is one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in Otaniemi. The metro hub will also comprise a number of commercial properties.

The Business School

The Business School is also due to have a new building in Otaniemi. The current campus in Helsinki is set to relocate to the new building in Maarintie 13 in summer 2019.


Project Director Antti Mäkinen, antti.o.makinen@espoo.fi, +358 50 593 1339

Read more on Aalto CRE website

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