Kivipalatsi renovation to its original brilliance

We built new homes on Lönnrotinkatu in the heart of Helsinki. The prestigious property, well over a century old, was modernised and many details were restored.

Kivipalatsi was constructed as a residential building in 1896. As the years have gone by, the premises have been altered for use as both office and commercial space. The building has now been restored to its original purpose and brilliance. A total of 28 new apartments were completed in the renovated Asunto Oy Helsingin Kivipalatsi property.

The building is partly protected, and renovations were carried out in cooperation with the Helsinki City Museum. Old components that were conserved include protected facades and staircases, as well as the building’s framework structures, old fireplaces and flues. Also preserved were protected interior surfaces such as panelled walls and coffered ceilings. The rest was restored, renovated or completely rebuilt.

“For its age, the building was well preserved. Even the wooden framework structures were intact, and there was no decay,” says Esa Surakka, who was in charge of the project for Lemminkäinen.

The renovation included work on the roof, repairs to intermediate floors, structural improvements, and the renewal of insulation and interior surfaces. The windows were renovated and new structural solutions were used to improve the building’s fire safety and sound proofing. The property’s electrical, telecommunications, pipe, ventilation, control and security systems were completely renewed.

New apartments were built on the attic floor, with five roof terraces, skylights and balconies. In addition, we renewed the elevators, expanded the old elevator shafts and built a new elevator shaft to house a third elevator. Extensive renovation was also carried out on the building’s facade. It was completely repainted, and some of the old plaster ornaments were renewed.

Renovated staircase

Extensive responsibility and high quality standards

The project was carried out as a management contract, which allowed the developer to hand over extensive responsibility for the contract to Lemminkäinen.  We worked closely with the designers.

“Designing a renovation project is challenging, because there are always surprises. Not everything is as it appears on the surface. For example, the plan was to only repaint the facade on the courtyard side, but once we realised the old facade plastering was in poor condition, we had to replace it completely,” Surakka explains.

In addition to the initially agreed contract, we also carried out restoration work. The need and scope of restoration work often becomes apparent only as the project progresses. We carried out decorative painting work and restored old ceiling paintings to their original glory. The main staircase was also restored.

The construction site organisation was made up of experts with previous experience of similar projects. They needed to have special technical expertise, such as knowledge of old building methods and materials. The Kivipalatsi building has an exceptionally high standard of finishing.

Working in close quarters in the city centre

As the client wanted us to manage as much of the total project as possible, we were also responsible for coordinating changes requested by tenants. The individual wishes of tenants were taken into account as part of the overall process.

“The management contract approach offers the flexibility required for renovation work and managing alteration work requested by tenants,” says Kalevi Stenman, Director of Renovation at Lemminkäinen.

Kivipalatsi

In addition to its demanding content and high requirements, the project also posed logistical challenges due to its location. The property is part of a compact residential and commercial block. With no storage space and busy traffic on the surrounding streets, the project logistics were managed by precisely timed deliveries and working hours arrangements.  

“We have specialised in renovating prestigious historic buildings, often located in city centres. Working in city centres, in busy and built-up environments, without disturbing those in the immediate vicinity, forms part of our core expertise,” Stenman explains.

The client’s wishes were satisfied and work was completed on schedule. Kivipalatsi’s spatial solutions and technical building services now meet the highest modern standards.