Drawing inspiration from the forest, Spring wins architectural competition for Katajanokan Laituri


Proposal Spring by Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy has won the architectural competition for timber office premises planned in Katajanokka. The carbon neutral building, named Katajanokan Laituri and owned by Varma, will house Stora Enso’s head office, a hotel and other business facilities. In its selection of the winner, the jury emphasised, among other things, the versatile uses offered to citizens in the building.

In accordance with the jury’s criteria, the goal of the architectural competition was to find a solution that combines the requirements relating to urban framework with landscape, functional, aesthetic, technical and economic demands in a balanced way.

- The winning design meets the targets set for the competition well. Its architectural solutions form a high-quality, natural whole 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 beautiful and balanced Spring is well suited for Katajanokka

According to the jury, Spring is a beautiful, balanced design, which continues the line of light-coloured town houses stretching from Esplanadi to Katajanokka, using the methods of modern architecture. It also blends in well with the block structure of Katajanokka and the façades lining the seashore. The rounded corners of the building connect it to the shapes of the adjacent customs storehouse and hotel, which are also repeated in other locations in Katajanokka’s national romantic and Art Nouveau 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.

Two honourable mentions were also given in the architectural competition. The honourable mentions were given to entries Beacon (White arkitekter AB) and Rantametsä (PES-Arkkitehdit Oy).

Sustainable construction and open city space

In its selection, the jury emphasised the versatile uses of the building from the point of view of city residents. According to the design, a small urban park will be set up at the Market Square end of the building, and the shore side will have a terrace area for cafés and restaurants.

- 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.

Curbing climate change is one of Varma’s key sustainability goals, and Varma wants to be a forerunner as it reduces the carbon footprint of its real estate holdings. The construction of new office premises with Stora Enso’s massive wood elements supports in reaching he climate targets.

- 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. We are very excited to put our products and experience in wooden construction into use and help Spring flourish! says Business development manager Antto Kauhanen from Stora Enso.

- 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. Wood 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.

Please download more pictures of Spring from material bank. (Aineistot --> Julkinen --> Katajanokan Laituri --> Spring)

Web site of the project

More information:

Ilkka Tomperi, Investment Director, Head of Real Estate, Varma, tel. +358 50 379 1903

Ilari Takamäki, Communications Manager, Varma, tel. +358 40 502 4531

Satu Härkönen, Head of Communications, Stora Enso, tel. +358 40 832 7458

Marjaana Yläjääski, Senior Architect, City of Helsinki, tel. + 358 9 310 37045

Selina Anttinen, Architect SAFA, Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy, tel. +358 50 572 2595

"Spring", the winner of the architectural competition for Katajanokan Laituri




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Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company is a responsible and solvent investor. The company is responsible for the statutory earnings-related pension cover of some 900,000 people in the private sector. Premiums written totalled EUR 5.3 billion in 2019 and pension payments stood at EUR 5.9 billion. The company’s investment portfolio amounted to EUR 43.6 billion at the end of March 2020.

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