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Kalasatama Health and well-being centre

Kalasatama Health and well-being centre

Helin & Co Architects
Kalasatama, Helsinki, Finland | View Map
Project Year
Wellness Centres
Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy

Kalasatama Health and well-being centre

Helin & Co Architects as Architects

Resulting from the ongoing renewal process of social and health services, health centres of Helsinki are currently developed into health and wellness centres based on an entirely new kind of operation model.

The first new building compatible with this principle is the centre in the Kalasatama district in Helsinki. It was opened to the public at the beginning of February 2018.

Strategic vision:

For the first time, a range of health and social services as wide as here is available under the same roof:services of health care, dental care and psychiatry as well as alcohol and substance abuse counselling and social counselling focussed on young adults. Also available are rehabilitation services and services for people with disabilities. The building also houses a tobacco clinic, contraceptive advice point, immigration unit and laboratories. There are plenty of group spaces and equipment for e.g. music therapy and physiotherapy. The spaces are flexible and multi-purpose. They are also available for third-sector operators, such as patient organisations.

The new operation model aims to rapid identification of clients who need long-term care. They are assigned a personal contact, or in cases of complex problems, a personal team of professionals. The centre serves those who need occasional services as well as long-term clients. Those who have not booked an appointment are guided to assessment rooms on the entrance floor, where their need for help is evaluated and they are referred to the right expert. Booking in for appointments is also on the entrance floor, from where the client is guided by a schedule and space management system to the right floor and room.


An old harbour and industrial area is changing to a modern part of Helsinki centre.In addition to the needs of 20 000 new inhabitants, health services of scattered small and outdated premises nearby are collected to the new building. It is located next to a commercial centre (opening soon) with excellent communications, metro station etc. By means of architecture, a big construction expresses care and human approach – its essential meaning as a public building.

The objective was to have humane architecture expressing care in the middle of a new neighbourhood – a public building that is approachable and open. Means for this were warm colours, small-scale projections and good proportions.

Purposeful innovation:

In the Health and Well-being Centre, multisector professionals of social welfare and health will work in close collaboration, enabling comprehensive services to the clients. Since the operations will be continuously developed, the spaces of the centre were designed to be flexibly adaptable. Thus the consulting rooms are generic, furnished to meet diverse needs, and there are background work facilities suitable for various functions. In addition, the IT equipment and connections of the centre increase mobile work and lessen the need for permanent work spaces.

The consulting rooms are shared by the employees, and their occupants change as they are vacated. Different services also interlace; only oral health care and laboratories, which need special equipment, have specific spaces. The consulting rooms have access to the central background area, which facilitates mutual consultation.

Design approach:

The focus is on the client’s experience. The entrance, spacious and light, has the feel of the presence of care, which is easily attainable. On upper floors, the consulting rooms are located along arcades with open views over the city – there is a lot of light and space. The small-scale waiting projections are warm in colour. The consulting rooms receive daylight through the arcades, and yellow floors reflect the presence of the sun.

The staff areas enable cumulative advancement of know-how and knowledge. Positive coexistence and, on the other hand, the possibility towork in privacy raise the efficiency and level of work.

Placed along the perimeter of the building is a client corridor spaced by waiting and self-service areas at the points of facade projections. The large windows of the waiting areas allow breath-taking views of the environment. The consulting and treatment rooms surround the building’s centre area, which houses the background work spaces of doctors and other specialists. These receive daylight through two large light wells as well as the high opal glass windows and top windows of the consulting rooms. Both light wells have colourfulmobiles by artist Jenni Rope installed in them, serving also as sound-abating elements in the high lobby areas. The yellow-hued mobile in the eastern light well and the blue-hued in the western help orientation in the background work facilities.


The design was to observe especially the client user’s perspective – it is an advantage to the client that one place can provide a broad palette of services, which means increased fluency and efficiency in the service process. At Kalasatama Health and Well-being Center, a variety of professionals work together. Networking in multidisciplinary teams increases the meaningfulness of work, which is also a pull factor in recruiting. Kalasatama is located in a node of public transport and thus easily accessible. There are also pick-up/drop-off and accessible parking spaces as well as bicycle stands in the immediate vicinity of the Health and Well-being Centre.


The City of Helsinki set strict energy performance requirements for the Kalasatama district. In accordance with these, the Centre was designed as a low-energy building. A wide range of calculations and simulations concerning heating, cooling and energy consumption were utilised in design work.

A green roof growing sedum contributes to improving air quality and assists in rainwater management.

This project has got the LEED Gold classification.

Acoustic design focussed on the management of noise from the environment, acoustic damping of the entrance lobby and sound rejection in consulting rooms.

The soil of the site had to be examined carefully, because the area was formerly a harbour. Polluted soil was removed, and after excavation the rock bottom was reinforced by grouting.

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