Etera and Alma Media office building project in Helsinki
The winner of the architectural competition arranged for the design of a new office building to be constructed primarily for Alma Media in the Töölönlahti Bay area in Helsinki, Finland, is JKMM Architects. The developer responsible for the construction will be Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company. Alma Media will concentrate all its units in the Helsinki region in this building, that is, the editorial offices of Kauppalehti, Iltalehti, Alma Media Helsinki Desk, Alma Media Lehdentekijät, as well as the personnel of the Marketplaces business and parent company located in Helsinki. The total area of the office space is approximately 10,000 square metres.
The five-storey building will be constructed between the Finlandia Hall and the railway yard in the heart of Helsinki, in a location prominent in the cityscape. The building contractor is Lemminkäinen Talo Oy Pääkaupunkiseutu. The jury described the winning design as modern and being in pace with the times. "The site is demanding, but the entry creates a successful architectural connection to the location and the purpose of the building," Timo Sotavalta, Etera's Head of Real Estate and the chairman of the jury, characterises the winning design.
The jury's basis for choosing the winning design: "This entry has a façade that is good and approachable from all directions. The façade towards the railway yard and in the entrance are strong and impressive, towards the Finlandia Hall and the park it is alive and human. The materials, light-coloured plaster finish, natural stone and wood, support the chosen architectural theme.
The storeys of the building are efficient and functional in their vertical connections, as well as flexible to use. The entry succeeds in creating spatial tension in the interior through two simple cuts. This brings dynamism, change and an interesting atmosphere in the working environment."
The jury made a unanimous decision. Further development of the design will be initiated based on the winning design.
Etera won the bidding contest for the site arranged by Senate Properties Ltd earlier this year. "We are very satisfied to be able to construct this new building together with Lemminkäinen on such a magnificent and prominent site in the city. The City of Helsinki will invest a lot in the Töölönlahti Bay area in the coming years. Etera's building will become one of the city's landmarks," says Hannu Tarkkonen, Managing Director, Etera.
"Naturally, we are satisfied with Alma Media being the primary user of the building, with a long-term agreement. The site is located at the junction of all modes of public transport, which is important from the environmental point of view. We will also apply for an environmental certificate for the building. The project meets Etera's requirements for its investments excellently " Mr Tarkkonen continues.
"The winning entry has a character that befits a forerunner company and allows flexible, open functions. It enables our constantly renewing media company to plan its functions in a totally new way, in line with our objectives. The architecture also supports cooperation across business unit borders, a central principle in Alma Media's operations," says Kai Telanne, President and CEO, Alma Media.
JKMM Architects has received several awards in design competitions in Finland and other countries, including the Finnish State Award for Architecture 2007. The company's most recent award was received from the umbrella organisation of World Expositions, BIE (Bureau International des Expositions), for the design of the Finnish Pavilion called "The Giant's Kettle" at the Shanghai World Exposition. The Finnish Pavilion was judged the best for its architecture in its size category. Other notable works of JKMM Architects include the Verkatehdas cultural and congress centre in Hämeenlinna, Finland, the central library in Turku, Finland, and the Viikki church in Helsinki, Finland.
The City of Helsinki plans to develop the Töölönlahti Bay area into a centre of cultural activity and a "living room" for the Helsinki people. The area can already be characterised almost as a national landscape as many prominent buildings, such as the Finlandia Hall, the Museum of Modern Art Kiasma and Helsinki Music Centre, are located close by. A library is also planned in the area. The wide greenery spreading round the bay offers a pleasant location for leisure, hiking and a variety of urban events. The city will pay special attention to the parks in the Töölönlahti Bay area, occupying a total of more than 10 hectares.
"The new office building will form a central component of the new front of buildings that form the borders of the Finlandia Park and the railway yard. The building will be visible from far away, and on the other hand, it will offer exceptionally great views in all directions. The design of the building aims at timeless style. The office spaces are based on a modern, flexible working environment supporting an open, interactive operating model. The central spatial element of the building is the entrance hall that continues all the way into the core of the building in the form of a space split in two, " is how the design competition winner, JKMM Architects, describes the new office building.
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