Helsinki’s Katajanokka is being transformed – wooden building supports Varma’s carbon neutrality goals

The eye-catching wooden commercial building owned by Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company is starting to take shape. The building, called Katajanokan Laituri, will be a masterpiece of wood construction and will house, for instance, the head office of Stora Enso and a hotel of the S Group.

Rising in one of Helsinki’s finest locations, the premises will change the silhouette of the city’s shoreline. The building’s framework will comprise a total of 2,500 wood elements, which are currently being installed at the construction site. The Market Square end of the four-storey building will top out by the end of May. In spring, the building’s facades will be installed, and construction of the building’s interior will begin in the summer.

“Our goal is to build, in Helsinki’s premier location of Katajanokka, a world-class building in terms of cityscape and landscape that also lives up to the principles of sustainable construction and environmental values. This is a great project that will inject life into Katajanokka’s shoreline by bringing jobs and attracting tourists,” says Varma’s President and CEO Risto Murto.

The building, designed by Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy, the winner of the architectural competition, will have approximately 16,000 square metres of rentable space. In addition to Stora Enso’s head office and S Group’s Solo Sokos Hotel Pier 4, the building will house other service providers as well as public spaces.

Auction of demolition waste reduced waste volumes

The construction of Katajanokan Laituri is guided by the principles of sustainability and circular economy. In connection with the demolition of the building previously located on the plot, an auction was held with the City of Helsinki to sell the building’s usable furniture, technical equipment and construction components and materials for reuse. Thanks to the auction, the amount of waste from the demolition was cut by 29 tonnes. Ninety per cent of the items put up for sale were sold.

The construction of Katajanokan Laituri follows the principles of low-carbon construction. This means the building’s lifetime carbon footprint will be as small as possible. The project supports Varma’s target of a carbon-neutral investment portfolio by 2035.

“Once completed, the wood frame of our future head office building will contain some 7,600 cubic metres of massive wood delivered by Stora Enso. That means the wooden structures of the impressive building will store nearly 6,000 tonnes of carbon, which corresponds to the average annual emissions of roughly 3,500 passenger cars in Finland,” stresses Seppo Parvi, Stora Enso’s Country Manager for Finland.

“We see wood construction as a future possibility that is also well-aligned with Varma’s climate targets. We also have other wood-based construction projects planned, such as the Keilaniemen Portti commercial building in Espoo,” says Murto.

City of Helsinki aims to revitalise Katajanokka

The City of Helsinki has committed to develop Helsinki in a way that retains the vitality of the city centre. Pedestrian access will be built between Katajanokka’s shore and the building, allowing lessees on the ground floor to take advantage of the seaside location, for instance, by setting up terraces.

“Katajanokan Laituri is a new jewel of wood architecture that will complement Helsinki’s breathtaking seaside silhouette. As both a building and a concept, the project supports and brings to life Helsinki’s goals. Developing the shoreline is a great way for our unique shore area to be increasingly used by all Helsinki residents; at the same time, building with wood supports the achievement of our ambitious climate targets,” says the Mayor of Helsinki, Juhana Vartiainen.

“Solo Sokos Hotel Pier 4 is set to be a forerunner in terms of its design, and responsibility and sustainability underpin its operations, from raw material choices to service. We aim to build the most interesting hotel offering in the capital city region. The new hotel has also garnered international interest and is sure to increase Helsinki’s appeal as a tourist city,” says Jari Annala, Managing Director of S Group’s hotel operator Sokotel Oy.

Earthworks started up in Katajanokka in January 2022 with the excavation of a watertight trench for the building’s foundations. Concrete structural work for the basement started last September, and the building is scheduled for completion 2024.

To follow the project and see real-time images of the building’s construction, please visit


Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company is a responsible and solvent investor of pension funds. The company is responsible for the statutory earnings-related pension cover of 942,000 people in the private sector. Varma’s premiums written totalled EUR 6.1 billion in 2022 and pension payments stood at EUR 6.5 billion. Varma’s investment portfolio amounted to EUR 56.2 billion at the end of 2022.

For more information, please contact:

Marjut Tervola, Communications Manager, Varma, marjut.tervola(at), tel. +358 45 673 0120

Satu Härkönen, Head of Communications, Stora Enso, satu.harkonen(at)storaenso, tel. +358 40 832 7458

Pekka Haverinen, SVP Marketing and Communications, SOK, pekka.haverinen(at), tel. +358 40 752 9852

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