Varma has selected six architectural firms to participate in the architectural competition for Varma’s wooden office building in Katajanokka, Helsinki. The competition will be launched in February. The building will be home to Stora Enso’s head office and a hotel.
Carrying out the international architectural competition as an invited competition ensures a high standard of architecture for the building and transparent planning for the overall project. Internationally well-respected architectural firms with a background in wood construction were invited from Finland, the other Nordic countries and Japan to take part in the competition. The firms have confirmed their participation.
“We wanted ambitious and sustainable architectural firms that are savvy in using this natural material, as the aim is for the building to be carbon neutral. We were also looking for firms that would bring different proposals to the table. In addition to Finnish expertise, we wanted an international perspective,” says Varma’s Ilkka Tomperi, Investment Director, Real Estate Investments.
The following firms will participate in the invited architectural competition:
1. Anttinen Oiva Architects, Helsinki, Finland
2. ALA Architects, Helsinki, Finland
3. Shigeru Ban Architects Europe, Paris, France/Japan
4. Snøhetta, Oslo, Norway
5. PES-Architects, Helsinki, Finland
6. White Arkitekter, Stockholm, Sweden
The objective of the architectural competition is to create a high standard of office premises that coincide with the nationally significant cultural environment and which also take into account the opportunity to enjoy the seaside location. The plot is located at Katajanokanlaituri 4. The competition’s objectives for the cityscape and urban premises were drawn up in co-operation with the City of Helsinki, and a city planning amendment for the area is pending.
Massive wood confirmed as the building material
The main tenant of the new office premises will be Stora Enso, and the building material to be used will be Stora Enso’s massive wooden elements.
“The design of the new building will make use of the office concept that Stora Enso launched last autumn. We believe that in the future a growing proportion of office buildings will be made from wood, which is a good choice in terms of both employee health and the environment,” states Stora Enso Wood Products’ Business Development Manager Antto Kauhanen.
Search for hotel entrepreneur launched
The amount of lettable space will be approximately 16,000 square metres in total. In addition to Stora Enso’s head office, the building will house office premises for other businesses and service providers. Varma has planned for a hotel in the building, and the search for a hotel entrepreneur is under way.
“The aim is to find a hotel operator with a broad interest in environmental and sustainability perspectives and for whom wood-built and carbon-neutral premises would be a value in itself. The intention is to apply for LEED platinum environmental certification, which takes sustainability perspectives comprehensively into account, for the building,” says Tomperi.
The competition entries will be published on the project’s future website, which will also open up the opportunity for a public debate on the proposals. The competition is due to wrap up in the course of June. The architectural competition is arranged in accordance with the rules of the Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA, and the jury is made up of representatives from Varma, Stora Enso, SAFA and the City of Helsinki. The premises are expected to be completed in 2023.