New flagship of wood architecture to be built at Katajanokka

Varma’s office building planned for Katajanokka inspired architects to turn to nature themes such as the forest and the sea for the look and feel of the building. The competition entries for the architectural competition held in the spring have now been published. The wooden building will house Stora Enso’s head office and a hotel.

Katajanokan Laituri is located in a central place by the sea at Helsinki’s Katajanokka. The building, situated in a nationally significant cultural environment, will house public spaces and thereby also serve city residents and tourists enjoying the maritime location.

One of the most ambitious goals of the Katajanokan Laituri project is to build a completely carbon-neutral office building which uses energy solely from renewable sources. For this to be possible, each party participating in the project must commit to this goal from the very start.

The City of Helsinki is committed to developing Helsinki by promoting the vitality of the city centre, among other things. The plan is to create a walking route between the seashore and the building, so that street-level operators could take advantage of the outdoor spaces by the sea, for example by opening terraces.

“From the viewpoint of the City of Helsinki, our goal for developing the Katajanokka area is to create an active urban space, construct a new waterfront facade and enable a more diverse use of the seashore. In the densely built Helsinki of the future, there must be an urban space open to residents, which is of great importance in this project as well,” says Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor of Urban Environment.

The City of Helsinki is preparing an amendment for the detailed city plan of the Katajanokka area, which is a prerequisite for construction to start. The materials for the draft detailed plan are currently available for public assessment. The publication of the competition entries is timed to coincide with the city plan preparation phase so that there can be an open public discussion on the entries.

Six architectural firms from Finland, the other Nordic countries and Japan participated in the architectural competition, which was organized as an international invited competition. Forest, sea or nature are present in several competition entries. The facades of the entries draw on neoclassical lines as well as undulating shapes and wooden lattices that play with light and the seascape.

The architectural competition is arranged in accordance with the rules of the Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA, and the jury will select the winner in June. The jury is made up of representatives from Varma, Stora Enso, SAFA and the City of Helsinki. When assessing the competition entries, the jury does not know which architectural firm has created which design.

You can also follow the project online at

The aim is to make the building, named Katajanokan Laituri, carbon neutral, so it would have a zero carbon footprint throughout its entire life-cycle. The building will house Stora Enso’s head office, a hotel and other premises. Stora Enso’s massive wooden elements are used as construction material.

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