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Tapiola Group PK2, Finland

Esko Miettinen, Architect SA

New Head Office - Tapiola, which today is a regional centre in the City of Espoo, was originally planned in the 1950s as a garden town in southern Espoo, some 12 km from downtown Helsinki. Tapiola was built up gradually over the years since the 1960s and at present has a population of ca. 40,000.

The area is about to be connected to the metro network as part of the Southern Espoo metro line. The new main office of Insurance Company Tapiola was erected south of the regional centre. The division of masses and the materials make the building well adapted to the area. The façade materials of the new main office building include screenprinted glass, transparent façade glazing, wooden balcony surfaces as well as corrugated copper sheeting and a plinth in natural stone. The choice of materials and the architecture of the headquarters block reflect in an interesting way the architectural background of Tapiola area; innovative spirit combined with environmental objectives.

The Head Office of the Tapiola Group is located in southern Tapiola area in Espoo, in immediate vicinity of the old Tapiola Garden Town. Property development has traditionally in Tapiola been based on free locations with respect to nature and built-up green areas. This principle has been followed also with the Head Office; the building mass above ground is divided into six six-storey parts using atriums and undulating building levels.

The lightness of façades, characteristic of Tapiola, has been captured in the screen-printed glass of the ribbon windows, while the use of wood on the windows and the surfaces of balconies and terraces link the building with the wooden house on the opposite side of Länsituulentie Road. The objective has been a modern interpretation of a new building that befits Tapiola. The main entrance is dominated by a canopy, which rests on three columns made from Corten steel. The lower surface of the canopy, which at eaves height extends from the outdoor to the indoor, is covered with wood. A natural stone wall realised in free form connects the building with the varying ground contours of the plot.

Common functions and internal traffic inside the building wind round the entrance atrium and the main lobby, which form a central square. The office facilities for some 1500 employees are modifiable, allowing the building to be divided into separate units, which can also be rented out, if necessary. The smallest possible unit consists of two parallel office blocks on one floor. The office blocks, which are connected with the tall lobby area through open side corridors, facilitate functionally versatile and diverse space solutions in the offices. Natural horizontal connections are possible both between the different office units, and through the side corridors of the lobby space between the blocks. Vertical access routes utilise internal staircases and lifts inside office units, and the spiral staircase and the panorama lifts of the lobby area between office blocks. The lobby with its waiting areas and exhibition facilities, as well as the associated auditorium realised in white concrete and the wide side corridors on the floor levels create an assembly area for the people working in the building.

The shared conference rooms are also arranged along the side corridors of the lobby area. The staff restaurant and the conference centre on the top floor extend outside to wood-floored roof terraces with a sea view to the Gulf of Finland. Special attention has been paid to the modifiability of the office facilities in terms of architecture, construction and building systems.

The three basement levels excavated into rock provide parking for ca. 830 cars as well as technical facilities. The construction was up to the floor slab of the topmost basement level built with the cast-in-situ method as a post-tensioned column and beam slab system. The building frame above consists of 8.1 m modules that comprise steel tube composite columns filled with reinforced concrete, welded WQ beams, and intermediate floors and roof slabs made of hollow-core slabs. The frame is stiffened with stairwells and lift shafts built from reinforced concrete using the climbing form method. The three columns on the main entrance, made from Corten steel and rising to a height of 26 metres, support the grid of steel beams in the canopy. The steel-glass wall of the lobby is suspended from this grid and in horizontal direction supported against wind pressure and vacuum loads to the edges of the intermediate floors with steel tension rods and compression rods. The sculpturelike spiral staircase of the lobby, built without a centre column, has been partly realised as a spring enclosed with steel plates and supported on the ends of cantilever beams. The glazed balconies are cantilevered steel structures that were posttensioned to the frame.

The development of the project, as well as the control of design, the actual design, and the construction have been guided by the environmental and life cycle objectives of Tapiola Group. Environmental classification system PromisE has been used as a tool at the different phases of the project. Tapiola Group has been awarded WWF’s Green Office designation for its commitment to eco-efficiency in the use of the building and the practices followed by the staff.

An article about this building was published in 30/2011 issue of Copper Architecture Forum magazine.





Type of building: 
Office buildings
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
RArchitects SARC Oy
Address & description: 
Professor, architect SAFA Antti-Matti Siikala (Chief Designer)Architect SAFA Sarlotta NarjusArchitect SAFA Okke Kiviluoto (Project Architect)Main contractor: YIT Rakennus Oy

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