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Development of Lapinlahti progresses with comments on the draft concept

The current phase involves commenting on a preliminary draft of the operating concept for the Lapinlahti hospital area, which has been prepared taking into account the ideas and requests previously expressed by citizens. Comments will be collected until 2 April.
Garden of Lapinlahti Hospital. Photo: Yiping Feng ja Ling Ouyang. Helsinki Partners Photo: Yiping Feng ja Ling Ouyang. Helsinki Partners
Garden of Lapinlahti Hospital. Photo: Yiping Feng ja Ling Ouyang. Helsinki Partners Photo: Yiping Feng ja Ling Ouyang. Helsinki Partners

The City of Helsinki continues to plan the future use of the Lapinlahti hospital area in dialogue with citizens and the users of the area. The aim is to create the conditions for the renovation of the premises and the continuation of mental health and open cultural activities alongside other activities.

In early 2023, the city collected ideas from citizens and local operators through the Kerrokantasi online survey and a workshop at Lapinlahti Hospital. They covered topics such as the accessibility of the area and its facilities, the use of the historic park, and activities and services appropriate to the unique area. The online survey received almost 600 comments while it was open.

The first workshop held in early February 2023 was attended by around 40 citizens interested in the area. Work points set up in the main building of Lapinlahti Hospital were used to brainstorm new ideas and discuss ideas and concerns with experts and citizens. The event also included an update on the development process from city representatives.

Topics discussed at the workshop included safeguarding the unique atmosphere of the area, ownership arrangements and the future of the protected park surrounding the hospital. The vegetation and trees in the area have been part of patient care, including some trees planted by the patients.

- Construction projects planned for nearby areas, such as the Ruoholahti harbour tunnel, are understandably a cause for concern in the Lapinlahti hospital area. The aim is to carry out the construction projects in such a way that the special natural values of the hospital park are not compromised, reassures Teo Tammivuori, planning architect from the city of Helsinki.

The necessary renovation of the facilities will be carried out taking into account the cultural and historical values

Lapinlahti Hospital, completed in 1841, was designed by architect C.L. Engel. The buildings were used as a hospital until 2008. Since 2015, the city has been letting the premises to the cooperative Lapinlahden Tilajakamo and Lapinlahden Lähde Oy, which sublet them to private mental health, well-being and cultural operators. The main building and the surrounding park are protected, and the areas classified as a nationally valuable built cultural environment.

The city's partner in the planning will continue to be the property development company NREP, in line with the policy of the City Board. Kiinteistö Oy Kaapelitalo is involved in the study, as the company has experience with similar projects in the Cable Factory and Suvilahti. The parties have also been open to new ideas from citizens and existing users of the area.

The buildings on the site are in need of renovation, and a new ownership scheme is planned to finance this. In the future, there are plans to set up a joint property company between the city and NREP, which will be responsible for the renovation, ownership and rental of the Lapinlahti premises. As a general rule, the city aims to dispose of premises that are not used for its own services, and it could either sell or hand over the buildings to a new company.

The planned renovation work will involve the renovation of the building services systems and the removal of harmful substances from the structures. The aim is also to improve the accessibility of the building. When renovating a listed building, its cultural and historical values must be taken into account. The city launched a building condition survey in February 2023 as a starting point for the renovation work.

The draft concept will be updated based on comments

A first draft of the concept for the area has been prepared based on ideas and requests collected from citizens in the Kerrokantasi (voice your opinion) online survey and the workshop earlier this year. They defined what kind of activities and functions the buildings could have in the future.

A workshop and an online survey will be used to collect comments from citizens on the draft concept.  The second workshop took place at the Cable Factory on 9 March 2023 and the second Kerrokantasi online survey is open from 10 March to 2 April 2023.

The preliminary draft concept will be updated on the basis of feedback received during the commenting phase. Once the concept has been updated, a more detailed design and costing phase will begin, leading to a master plan that will be the basis for discussions with potential future main tenants.

In parallel to the planning that is now under way, the city is starting detailed planning  to determine what the buildings can be used for in the future. The aim is to have the detailed plan, associated contracts and the zoning plan ready for decision in late 2023.