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Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Finland Architecture News - Jan 14, 2021 - 12:20   5389 views

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Helsinki-based architecture firm Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects has completed the Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki, Finland

Covering a total of 40,900-square-metre area, the building has been designed as an archaic and modern civic building in the spirit of open Nordic society. 

Dedicated to highly rough material of brick, the program of the building consists of office spaces, public service facilities, auditorium and restaurant. 

Other materials used in the building include concrete, wood and copper and the building is characterized with the rooftop terraces with their distinct pavilions. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

Combines new building technology with references to the history of architecture – as a building, it is modern and archaic at the same time. The spacious interiors include activity-based work environments and public spaces that invite citizens to utilize city services. 

Designed nearly as "a zero-energy building", the environmental friendliness of the Urban Environment House is reflected in long-lasting solutions that allow flexible use of the building. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

The project is also the winner of the Tekla BIM Award 2020 for Finland and the Baltics for its "extensive and advanced utilization of building information modeling technology."

Located in the former industrial area of Verkkosaari in Helsinki, Finland, the Urban Environment House provides work environments for 1,500 city officials and public premises open to all citizens. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

As a new home of city planning officials, the Urban Environment House acts as a role model building, which demonstrates the City’s high standards of both building planning and urban planning. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

"The fact that most significant users of the Urban Environment House are built environment officials was made visible by, for example, pursuing rough materiality through varied mortar joint styles and the use of wood, concrete, and copper," said Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects.

"The building utilizes an advanced combination of brick cladding and cast-in-place concrete structure, which made it possible to realize the broad brick arches and the half-arch at a corner of the building." 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

"Up to two-story-high arches and an arcade, which continues all the way to the main lobby, connect the public street space and the interior of the Urban Environment House and, on the other hand, communicate about the public nature of the ground floor." 

"As historicist elements, the arches and arcades link the Urban Environment House to the history of architecture, thus creating a building that is both modern and archaic," added the studio.

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Space planning was emphasized in the Urban Environment House, as the City wanted to gather 1,500 officials who worked in several locations under one roof and provide them with modern workspaces that create a sense of togetherness. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

All the spaces are designed to support collaboration between officials and, on the other hand, to serve the citizens. In the spirit of open Nordic society and civic democracy, the first two floors of the building consist mostly of public spaces. These include, e.g., an exhibition space and customer service points, an auditorium, a café, and a restaurant.

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

The Urban Environment House is an activity-based work environment characterized by spaciousness and high ceilings – a diverse mixture of ample spaces, where, for example, openings connecting the floors, auditorium-style staircases, and street-like passageways have replaced conventional isolated floors and lobbies that pierce the whole building. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

As a counterbalance to work, the building also has exercise facilities, cafeterias, break rooms, as well as rooftop terraces with distinct, gazebo-inspired pavilions.

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

The leading thought in designing the Urban Environment House was to pursue environmental friendliness through longevity. In terms of energy efficiency, the Urban Environment House is nearly a zero-energy building. 

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

In addition, a 5,000-square-meter green roof with more than 22,000 plants, such as herbs and shrubs and decaying wood for fungi and insects, was placed on the roof. 

Thus, the roof acts as a laboratory for urban nature and, at the same time, contributes to biodiversity and prevents urban floods by delaying stormwater.

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Kuvatoimisto Kuvio

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Image © Marc Goodwin

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Site plan

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

Ground floor plan

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

First floor plan

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects complete Urban Environment House with brick arcades in Helsinki

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Project facts

Location: Helsinki, Finland
Year: 2020
Total Area: 40,900 m2
Client: City of Helsinki
Program: Work environments, public service facilities, auditorium, restaurant

Top image © Marc Goodwin

All drawings © Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects

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