The new building project set up in the Ruoholahti district of Helsinki is special in many ways. We Land is a unique headquarters-level project to open its doors to both workplaces and residents. "The project brings the kind of new life that is needed in the area," Senior Developer Heikki Alén of NCC outlines.
The uniqueness of the project starts with the location. There is a serious lack of vacant plots in the central business district of Helsinki. If any, the City is interested in the type of property and development concept to be chosen for the vacant sites.
"Built in the 1990s, the Ruoholahti district in general needs a slight facelift already. We Land responds to the urban development demands by making it even more attractive as a headquarters area, but also by breathing new life into the city district," Alén says.
"Ruoholahti’s reputation as a business site is good as it is, evidenced by the fact that 20 per cent of Helsinki’s head offices are located here. The new building will upgrade and make the area generally more attractive by bringing other users to the area as well."
Not only will the place be made for businesses and work, but also for living and the residents. "It is often said that maintaining a balance between workplaces and residents is a successful placemaking recipe. Thus being, the 20,000 workplaces proportioned to 20,000 residents will guarantee the success."
Top geotechnical engineering required
We Land is situated at the Porkkalankatu Street, in the K. A. Fagerholm Square where the tram turning bay is currently located. According to Alén, the soil investigations made in the area have revealed highly demanding soil conditions in the plot, including several municipal utilities.
For example, the plot is intersected by five underground tunnels: three metro tunnels, a coal supply tunnel and a former service tunnel of the alcohol monopoly Alko. Working the plot will require a great deal of geotechnical engineering, including blasting works for which the rock mechanics have been surveyed already. Special challenges call for special expertise such as the best advisors available in the field of rock construction.
"In parallel with the soil surveys we have been preparing the city plan. As soon as the city plan becomes legally valid we hope to be able to start relocation of the municipal networks which will take several months. The target is to have a legally valid city plan as of the beginning of 2020 and to finalise the actual building permit process in June 2020."
More demands- than space-oriented approach
The unique character of the project is accounted for in We Land’s further planning. Alén has got versatile experience of different project concepts, and We Land is inspired by the development of shopping centres.
"In retail, we focus not only on the building’s functions but also on finding the right service mix that will attract people to spend their time there and how to arrange their daily routines smoothly and purposefully. At the conceptual planning of We Land we have pondered over how the building would serve the different businesses and ways of working, also trying to put our finger on what We Land could bring to the entire area, what it would offer to the residents and what would appeal to them."
This is how we came up with a project to support working and a job well done – augmented by a high service culture and openness to encourage networking.
"Our design has more a demands- than a space-oriented approach," Alén summarises.
We Land lives from the morning till the night
We Land has a special concept. It enhances well-being and efficiency at work. It is open, appealing and hospitable. It is naturally also environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient.
"The overall project concept must include the spaces and the services to support smooth working and running the multitudinous daily errands, since companies are in need for different spaces for different jobs while the situations may change rapidly. We Land offers new solutions for new demands as well as the services to support working," Alén describes.
The Open House theme will raise co-working to an entirely new level. We Land’s tenants will provide a well-rounded set of services and events targeted at both the employees and the residents of the area. The house stays open from the morning till the night and during the weekends. A typical office canteen or a formal office atmosphere with reception desks and officers is nowhere to be found at We Land. The attractive entirety is topped out with a panoramic restaurant and the fabulous views opening from We Land’s highest floor.
"We Land with its concept is a perfect fit for the plot adjoining the cultural venues Kaapelitehdas and Tanssintalo. People want to have diversity and colour in their neighbourhood and we want to add to these qualities," Alén confirms.
We Land wants to put you in a good mood
We Land is a welcoming atmosphere with its cafés, restaurants and events. Hospitality is one of We Land’s leading concepts. Alén thinks it is important that each and every visitor to the house – an employee or a lunch guest dropping by – will get a friendly reception.
"Hotels offer concierge services to make their guests feel comfortable, why shouldn’t we?" Alén asks.
According to Alén, environmental values and energy efficiency are the two themes that have already become a standard and go without saying in the Finnish construction practice. We Land is built targeting for the BREEAM rating of Outstanding which will be achieved naturally owing to the high-standard concept.
Alén is glad to note that We Land has found an entire team of partners with top professional competence. "A high-standard project and an exceptional location attract the best skill in the business. The location is interesting to companies and service providers with many of whom the negotiations are approaching the final stages. We Land is expected to attract major interest among domestic and international investors alike."
Who is Heikki Alén?
- Senior Developer, NCC Property Development
- 49 years
- Alén has participated in the development and implementation of several office properties for international businesses in Russia as well as several shopping centres in different parts of Finland
We Land, Top 5
- Exceptional location in the central business district
- High service culture and openness to support networking – concept to attract both employees and residents 24/7
- Excellent connectivity by public transport, bike and car
- A cityscape-wise notable and prominent building
- BREEAM Outstanding
We Land in figures
- 15 floors
- 23,000 sq. m. of floor area
- 2,500 jobs
- 450 bike parking spaces
- 200 parking spaces for cars, all of them with charging
- targeted completion 2022
Architects: JKMM Arkkitehdit