A highly adaptable office building for KPMG

These versatile and flexible premises bring the various functions of a major corporation together, providing space for increasingly efficient work.

KPMG is an expert organisation that provides audit, tax and advisory services. It has nearly 600 employees in the Helsinki metropolitan area. When the company had the rare opportunity to develop its own office building on a premium piece of land in the Helsinki city centre, it decided it needed to take it.

According to Chief Operating Officer Juha Purovesi, KPMG’s former premises became impractical as the number of employees grew. 

“Our premises were spread out, which was not conducive to efficient work, and we did not have enough space in general. Now all of our employees in the Helsinki metropolitan area work under one roof in modern premises.”

Changes in the way work is performed

The bright and spacious building has a variety of spaces for employees to choose from at any given time. There are very few fixed workstations. Instead, desks are located in an open space. There are groups of sofas, soundproofed telephone booths and small meeting rooms on every floor. The conference centre and the executive team’s meeting room are separate from the rest of the premises.

New premises support the new way of working

The premises support the company’s new way of working, with an emphasis on customer focus and real-time service. The employees took to the new space immediately. The multispace concept also improves the organisation’s internal cohesion, making colleagues easy to approach. A modern office also attracts new talents.

When the workspace does not restrict the exchange of ideas, operations become smarter. A multisector service company can then provide its broad-based expertise even more efficiently than before.

open and adaptable spaces

A unique building on a unique piece of land

The building is located near the Helsinki Railway Station, right next to the tracks. The other side of the building faces the cultural landscape of Töölö Bay. Having such a central location is important for the company image, and the KPMG brand is also supported by the building’s unique architecture.

“Being easily accessible was a high priority for us, as it is important for both customers and employees,” Purovesi explains.

No space is wasted in the six-storey building with a length of almost 150 metres, but it nevertheless has a sense of openness thanks to solutions such as glass walls and an open spiral staircase that connects the floors. The long and narrow plot of land was carefully utilised. The wave-shaped facade made it possible to put in more window seats, while the street in front of the building was made livelier with various outdoor spaces.

The versatility and adaptability of this large office building are its most important attributes, ensuring that the premises will be functional far into the future.

A unique building on a unique piece of land 

Starting with the foundation work

Construction began in spring 2012. Foundation work on the site included 1,900 square metres of watertight excavations supported by steel sheet piles. The supporting wall was anchored with strand anchors installed on two levels due to the excavation depth and loads involved. The excavation’s watertightness was ensured with rock injection outside the excavation, and in part of the area, the contact surface between the rock and the sheet pile was also jet injected.

Part of the building’s base was built on piles (RD140, RD168, RD323), and part of the base was anchored by permanent anchors to resist the lift from groundwater. The waterproofing was very successful.

Managing the project from start to finish

As the turnkey contractor, Lemminkäinen managed the planning and design of the project from architectural design to environmental consulting.

“The most challenging aspect from a building technology standpoint was to put in place a massive framework structure poured on location in a densely built urban environment,” says Heikki Schemeikka, who was responsible for the project at Lemminkäinen. The location of the project posed substantial challenges with respect to logistics and production operations.

The material choice for the facade was glass that filters as much heat as possible while letting light in. 

This challenge was met by using Finland’s leading glass experts and a highly competent supplier for components.

The glass facade and the building’s high rate of use at certain times create a substantial heat load. The building is cooled by district cooling, which is an eco-friendly and energy-efficient method. Cooling beams were installed in the suspended ceilings. The building’s lighting was also designed to be very energy-efficient. The premises have motion detectors and ambient light sensors that turn off the indoor lighting when sufficient outdoor light enters the interior.

Electrical installations and other cables are underneath the suspended floors. This reduces the floor height by approximately 15 centimetres, but it makes changes to spatial arrangements easier and results in a clean and neat look. Radiators also blend into the structures, with some even curved to match the shape of the facade.

Sights set far into the future

The building’s developer is Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company. For a pension insurance company, it is important that the property retains its value and yield. For this reason, the solutions used are designed to be functional far into the future.

Etera places a high priority on energy efficiency and environmental efficiency in its property investments. The KPMG building is built to meet the criteria of the international LEED environmental certificate. In addition to construction, Lemminkäinen was responsible for renting the premises.

“Our cooperation with Lemminkäinen has been very positive. The project was carried out in a confined space with no complaints. User satisfaction is a big priority for Etera, and the project was also successful in this regard,” says Hannu Keinänen, Real Estate Investments Manager at Etera.

Lemminkäinen’s broad expertise allowed it to produce a high-quality building with a long useful life for the owner of the property, one that is certain to serve the changing needs of its users as the years go by.