An urban living roomPasilan Konepaja, Helsinki (FI)

It is one of Finland's most famous industrial buildings and a Helsinki landmark: the production halls of the Konepaja railway factory have been transformed into an urban living room for the population.

Founded in 1903, the Konepaja railway factory in the centre of Helsinki is a complex of three industrial buildings, two of which are listed. The Finnish State Railways built passenger and freight wagons here. Production was gradually phased out from the 1990s onwards. In 2018, former US Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck and his business partners purchased the factory building, laying the foundation for its conversion into a cultural meeting place for Helsinki residents.

Diverse conversion

The offer at Konepaja is already extremely diverse. The first tenants include the Finnish National Theatre, a facility for the trendy sport of padel tennis, bars, clubs and a supermarket. By the end of this year, a local microbrewery, restaurants and office space will be added.

Demanding renovation

A factory became a living room here (© Kansallis Teatteri)

To make this inspiring “living room“ possible, intensive cooperation between all parties involved was necessary. Especially in the redesign of the listed buildings: the assembly hall and the paint shop.

No changes were allowed to be made to the halls, which were constructed of red brick, stone pillars and wooden posts. This also affected the drainage of the roofs. Here, the Pluvia roof drainage system from Geberit proved to be the best solution, as it could be installed with a minimum number of fixings on the historic walls. As the horizontal pipelines do not require a gradient and use smaller dimensions than normal drainage systems, it was also possible to save quite a bit of space.

The change continues

The offer at Konepaja is extremely diverse. Bars, clubs, sports and cultural events find enough space here (© Kansallis Teatteri)

However, the further development and conversion of the area is not yet complete. Last year, the City of Helsinki, as the owner of the surrounding land, started drawing up plans for a hotel, an office and a retail building.

A design competition was announced for this purpose. The winning project includes a high-rise building - it is called “A Roof for Helsinki“.


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