Fennia Mutual Insurance Company moved its headquarters to the former Tekes premises in West Pasila, Helsinki, in the spring of 2017. The Pasilanportti, designed by Jaakko Salonen in the late 1980s, was of high-quality architecture of its time, but it desperately needed modernization. Changes in the work environment such as telecommuting, shared spaces, activity-based work and new technology called for changes in the old building's structure.
Moreover opening up the ground floor north-south axis was cornerstone of the renovation plan. In the past, the lobby was shallow and rambling, and it was difficult to orientate around the ground floor. The structure needed clarity, so now the entrance, lobby, steps, full-height courtyard and meeting spaces are all connected in a continuous sequence.
Covering the 20 meter wide courtyard turned out an interesting challenge: "We designed the roof for hollow beams made of wood elements that are not known to be seen elsewhere in this span in Finland," says Niklas Sucksdorff , chief architect of the project. Wood provided warmth and character also in the auditorium, the wardrobe and outdoor in the arcade's ceiling.
The renovation lightweight structures and building services had to be dismantled entirely, and the remaining were only a concrete wall elements and the north side of the glass facade. Other facades were coated with new metal composite and silk screen glass.