On the Katajanokka peninsula, in Helsinki's city centre and just a stone's throw from Katajanokka harbour, stands a large and elegant building. As Kesko headquarters (one of the major players in the Finnish produce market) this building hosted meetings that would affect the lives of all Finns, and until very recently, it was the daily workplace of hundreds of people. This building of over 30,000 sqm was built in 1940, and originally served multiple functions: as an office, storage space, and even a factory. The facades were clad with dark brick, and would remain attractive even in the sooty air of the bustling harbour area. The tall and iconic chimney stack at one corner stands as a reminder of this history.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and the air is clear. A fresh sea breeze awaits the lucky new residents of this former headquarters building, as it is now being converted into more than 100 apartments and hotel accommodation. The new apartments will be as unique and exceptional as the building itself, including many two-storey apartments with one particular apartment opening up onto the inner courtyard through a row of 12 windows. All units will feature a flexible open plan layout; with the wet areas fixed in one place, and the other spaces freely configurable from two to six rooms, depending on the individual resident's needs.
Project plans have just been submitted for the building permitting process, and the current aim is for new residents to occupy the building as early as 2017. The penthouse units will feature roof terraces with magnificent views over the city centre: a panorama including Helsinki Cathedral, the orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, the Market Square, and of course, the sea.