Completed in 2021 and situated in the heart of Helsinki, the Vuosaari Heat Pump Building represents an eco-conscious triumph by Virkkunen & Co Architects Ltd. This state-of-the-art facility not only manifests architectural excellence but also resonates with the progressive vision of energy company Helen Ltd. As a key contributor to Helsinki’s ambitious transition plan, it symbolizes a substantial step towards carbon-neutral energy production by 2030, consolidating the city’s commitment to sustainable development.
Vuosaari Heat Pump Building Technical Information
- Architects1-3: Virkkunen & Co Architects
- Location: Helsinki, Finland
- Client: Helen Ltd
- Topics: Brick Architecture, Industrial Architecture
- Project Completion: 2021
- Photographs: © Tuomas Kivinen
The project converts an adjacent power plant’s excess process heat and seawater heat from the nearby Baltic Sea into district heat that can be delivered to customers.
Vuosaari Heat Pump Building Photographs
The Vuosaari Heat Pump Building: A Pioneering Step Toward Carbon Neutrality in Helsinki
Nestled in east Helsinki, near Vuosaari harbor and the Baltic Sea, the heat pump building stands as a contemporary addition to the industrial landscape. It harmoniously integrates with existing architectural landmarks: Vuosaari Power Plant A (1987) and Vuosaari Power Plant B (1998) — the latter designed by Virkkunen & Co Architects themselves.
The structure, with its simplistic box design, cleverly complements the industrial surroundings. Housing a state-of-the-art heat pump, it utilizes excess process heat from the adjacent power plant and seawater heat from the Baltic Sea to produce district heat for the city’s inhabitants.
The client, Helen Ltd, regards such facilities as key in their sustainable pursuit, playing an instrumental role in achieving carbon-neutral energy production by the projected 2030.
Comprising two floors, the building’s layout is both practical and aesthetically coherent. The ground floor hosts the main process equipment room, with additional electrical and control rooms. The second floor accommodates a machine room, accessibly connected by external stairs leading to the roof.
Prefabricated concrete parts frame the building, showcasing the industrial charm through exposed concrete surfaces. The mottled red brick façade, contrasting with the rigid stack-bond grid, references the neighboring Vuosaari B Power Plant, with custom-made wing-shaped bricks adding a unique touch.
The east facade, situated next to the main entrance, features an innovative double-skin structure. An inner layer of a glass curtain wall, shielded by white-painted steel tubes, artfully protects the interior from excessive sunlight and heat. The west facade follows suit, with a double-skin structure that aesthetically unifies the building’s exterior.
The façade treatments synchronize with the interior spaces, reflecting floor divisions and room heights and humanizing the building’s scale.
The Vuosaari Heat Pump Building earned the coveted Architecture Master Prize in 2022. This esteemed award accentuates the building’s seamless integration, sustainable practices, and meticulous orchestration of materials and finishes.
This project signifies more than just an architectural feat; it stands as a testament to progressive and sustainable urban development. It elevates the industrial context through architectural means and sets an inspiring example for future endeavors in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.
Vuosaari Heat Pump Building Plans
Vuosaari Heat Pump Building Image Gallery
About Virkkunen & Co Architects
Established in 1954, Virkkunen & Co Architects is a prestigious architecture firm that boasts close to seven decades of comprehensive experience both within Finland and across international borders. With a specialized focus on the industrial sector, they have carved a unique niche by predominantly designing cutting-edge energy production and distribution facilities. Their innovative and environmentally conscious designs have not only reshaped the industrial landscape but have also garnered them numerous national and international accolades. This reputation reflects their unswerving commitment to excellence, sustainability, and the progressive evolution of industrial architecture.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Architects/designers: Uros Kostic, architect, Virkkunen & Co Architects Ltd; Nina Rusanen, architect SAFA, partner, Virkkunen & Co Architects Ltd
- Project Manager: Paula Skog, Sami Sihvo, Helen Ltd
- Engineers: Heikki Möttönen, M.Sc.(Techn.), Insinööritoimisto Heikki Möttönen Ltd