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Wärtsilä Headquarters Renovation and Extension
Helsinki, Finland, 2003, 2005

Wärtsilä Headquarters Renovation and Extension

Client: Wärtsilä Corporation
Location: Siltasaari, Helsinki, Finland
Year of completion: 2003, 2005
Gross area: 10 600 m² + 3 300 m²
Volume: 33 700 m³ + 15 100 m³

The building was originally an industrial real estate, designed 1938 by Yngve Lagerblad. It has been the head office of Wärtsilä since 1978, when the renovation, designed by Ilmo Valjakka, was completed. Before this, a building known as “The White Villa” was located on the site, where the manager of the Konetehdas Engine Factory nearby lived in the 1880´s. The building is included in the Built Heritage list of the National Board of Antiquities. It is located in the corner of John Stenbergin ranta Street and Siltasaarenkatu Street in the Hakaniemi district of Helsinki.

In the town plan the extension has been completely separated from the existing building and the height of the new building does not exceed the eaves line of the raised sloop of the existing building. The façades of the old part remained unchanged and a transparent roof preserves the courtyard façades. The doors leading to the bridges between the new and old parts are located in old window or balcony door openings.

The challenge faced in the architectural design was to adapt the building volume, the roof shapes and the façades to the courtyard and to the protected building. The façade cladding of the new building is made of solid handmade “Ruukintiili” bricks, resembling the bricks used in the old part.

The windows of the offices are relatively small in order to retain the scale of the old building and its windows. As the windows vary in width and location between the floors, the interior of each room is different. The views opening up from the work facilities are dominated by the connecting bridges and the lobby with the transparent roof.

A typical office floor in the new part is ca 350 sq m, with 12-16 work places depending on the furniture. There are also staff facilities, access to a lift, etc. on each floor. In the old part, a typical office floor is ca 900 sq m, comprising 32-38 work places as well as meeting rooms and auxiliary facilities. The office facilities are combinations of open-plan offices, separate workrooms and assembly rooms. The separate rooms divide the open-plan area into smaller units for the various work groups.