The winner of Stora Enso's head office architecture competition is Spring

Published 24 June 2020
The design entry Spring by Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy has won the architectural competition for Stora Enso’s new timber office premises in Helsinki. Showcasing what a tree can do, the carbon neutral building named Katajanokan Laituri (Katajanokka Pier) and owned by pension insurance company Varma, will house Stora Enso’s head office, a hotel, and other business facilities.

The goal of the architectural competition was to find a solution that combines the requirements relating to the urban framework and landscape; balancing functional, aesthetic, technical and economic demands.

“The winning design meets the targets set for the competition well. Its architectural solutions form a high-quality, natural entity that is well suited for a central seaside location”, says the Chairman of the jury Ilkka Tomperi, Investment Director, Head of Real Estate at Varma.

The construction of the new premises with Stora Enso's massive wooden elements is a step towards renewable and sustainable urban construction: Spring gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate the possibilities of wooden buildings and enables us to offer modern office spaces to our employees. The modern but timeless architecture of Spring truly shows what a tree can do and highlights our sustainable and renewable wood material that stores carbon during its lifecycle,” says Seppo Parvi, Stora Enso CFO and Country Manager Finland.

The beautiful and balanced Spring is well suited for Katajanokka

Spring is a beautiful, balanced design, which continues the line of light-coloured city landscape using the methods of modern architecture.

“The architecture feels familiar in a pleasant way. Its shapes and forms reflect the heritage of the modern northern art of building. Spring paves the way for the future of using wood as part of the sustainable construction of our cities”, Tomperi says.

Six architectural companies from Finland, the Nordic countries and Japan participated in the architectural competition, which was organized as an international invitational competition. The jury consisted of representatives of Varma, Stora Enso and the City of Helsinki, as well as the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA. The winning design was selected anynomously.

“All works made outstanding use of our office concept. We are also pleased with the winner that also received the greatest popularity in the internal voting of Stora Enso's personnel,” says Antto Kauhanen, Business Development Manager at Stora Enso.

Carbon neutral landmark – storing over 3,300 passenger car emissions

“The city of Helsinki is happy that the winner has been decided. We are thrilled to begin working together with the winning proposal. A wooden, sustainable building with a minimised carbon footprint corresponds to the goals of Helsinki, and the new building also enables new jobs. From the point of view of Helsinki, development of Katajanokka aims to create active city space and enable more versatile use of our shores, and it is great that with this project, we will be able to open up the Katajanokka waterside for citizens’ use, says Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki.

“This spring has brought a fresh understanding of how important health and nature are for each individual. Forests and wood play such an important role in building a more sustainable future. This elegant wooden building will store an amount of CO2 equal to the yearly emissions of over 3,300 private cars – that is more than the yearly emissions from cars of all Katajanokka residents,” adds Antto Kauhanen, Stora Enso.

Spring looks to the future

Based strongly on its location and environment, Spring looks to the future and serves as an example of carbon neutrality, sustainable growth and the potential of wood construction in a sensitive urban environment. The flexible structural solution allows for a variety of uses throughout the building’s life cycle, creating opportunities for versatile and flexible interaction between people and the various functions of the building.

“It is great to be involved in a project that has exceptionally ambitious and determined targets when it comes to environmental and climate values. The design is strongly rooted in the location and its history, but at the same time, it looks to the future. Wooden construction can be applied to create, in a demanding, protected urban setting, an environment that is sustainable, human, flexible during its lifecycle and that enriches with both its architecture and its functionality,” says Selina Anttinen, architect SAFA, from Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy.

With innovative and creative use of Stora Enso’s massive wood products and intelligent technical solutions, the simultaneously urban and natural building represents sustainable architecture in all senses of the word.

The premises are scheduled for completion in 2023. Interested in the project? Follow it online at www.katajanokanlaituri.fi