Shopping centre Kaari was opened on the 17th of October 2013

Shopping Centre Kaari in Helsinki was designed all the way from city plan to implementation phase by Innovarch Architects, which are part of Vahanen Group. Kaari is Finland’s 9th and capital area’s 5th largest shopping centre.

The shopping centre is situated in a well-known commercial area next to Helsinki’s major public transportation routes. Earlier the site contained Finland’s second oldest hypermarket, built already in 1973. More than 200 000 inhabitants live in less than 5km radius of the shopping centre.The building has 3 floors. The basement floor contains parking facilities for approximately 1000 vehicles and rest of the floors contain altogether 80 separate store facilities situated around a high ceiling, 200m long promenade. Kaari contains a hypermarket, department store, 10 restaurants and cafés and vast amount of stores for fashion, decorating and other specialized services. The building also contains a roof parking facility for 600 vehicles. The needs of public and bicycle and pedestrian transport have also been taken into account. The yard area has parking space for 600 bicycles and a bus stop. The accessibility and logistics of client, personnel and maintenance traffic has been taken care of especially. The building has three entrances for pedestrians.

The building has a robust pretensioned concrete frame and its column grid has been designed according to the module dictated by the parking system, 16,8 x 5,4 (basement) and 10,8 (other floors), throughout the building. The façade lines of the building are tied to the fully built site’s geometry. The solutions of the frame, facades and envelope are rational, cost effective and support the activities important for businesses. The scaling of the spaces is efficient.

As a counterbalance to the rectangular building mass and systematic building frame, the indoor spaces are dominated by free formed archs. The architectural concept creates a new type of friendly atmosphere filled with light. In the lobby areas structures and HVAC systems have been hidden in order to create a unified and clear look. To complement the soft shapes, the indoor spaces adopted a strong colour scheme from light – yellow and white. The design and execution has been exceptionally meticulous.

Reaching energy saving solutions has been an objective in the building’s design. The lighting solutions in the lobby spaces have been mainly executed with LED technology. The waste heat  from the stores’ refrigerator machines is reused as efficiently as possible. A LEED certificate for the building has been applied.

The building’s floor area is 52 000 sqm, gross building area 105 000 sqm and volume 650 000 sqm.

Innovarch Architects were responsible of the principal and architectural design as a whole and interior design of of lobby areas. The project was initiated in June 2006 with land-use planning and concept design phases. A zoning plan was drafted on the basis of these in cooperation Helsinki City Planning Department. In addition to the shopping centre, the zoned area includes three office building sites, transportation centre site and a site for social and health care services.

The shopping centre building was executed in three phases so that the activity of the existing hypermarket Prisma was not disturbed. The first and second phase included Prisma area and its basement parking facility and some smaller specialized stores. The third phase covered the actual three-storey shopping centre. The complex execution method required e.g. applying for 30 different building permissions. Each execution phase had its own designs and work contracts.

The shopping centre’s total costs amounted to approximately 140 M€. Throughout all three phases the main contractor was Skanska Talonrakennus Oy. The project took altogether 7,5 years to complete.

Design team:
Head designer: Timo Könönen
Project manager 1. and 2. phase: Markus Miikkulainen
Project manager 3. phase: Mikko Lahikainen
Architectural design: Sinikka Grasberger, Marco Paakkanen, Anne-Maria Naapuri, Jari Prittinen, Jyrki Jaskari
Tenant alterations: Riitta Pietiläinen
Furniture and info guide design: Anne Varsamäki