Scandic Grand Central Helsinki

The new Scandic Grand Central will be one of Finland’s biggest and most unique hotels in Finland, upon its completion in early 2021. The Helsinki Railway Station, which was designed by Eliel Saarinen and completed in 1909, is one of the most prestigious and protected historical buildings in Finland. Designing an extension for such a landmark was a compelling challenge.

Futudesign’s concept stays true to the original architecture of the railway station and blurs the boundaries of historic and contemporary architecture to create a stylistic symbiosis.
Many design details are inspired by Eliel Saarinen’s original plans and applied to modern features such as street level and top floor arch windows. The wall materials imitate the Railway Station’s facade with a mix of concrete and red granite to add to the building’s grand appearance.

One important architectural decision was to keep the height of the floors in the new building at 4.5 metres, the same as in the old administrative building. In addition to accessibility, the solution offers a higher room height than a standard hotel, giving the rooms a wonderful feeling of spaciousness. Space is further emphasised with floor to ceiling windows, which ensure an unparalleled view of the beautiful courtyard, and of Kaisaniemi park, which surrounds the hotel.

Keeping the high floors did not mean having to compromise on the number of rooms, as more rooms could be added on the quiet courtyard side by curving the facade.

The verdant garden courtyard with its restaurant and covered terrace will surely become Helsinki’s newest and most elegant hot spot.

The New Railway Station Hotel provides a multidimensional framework for visitors to engage with the nation’s most valuable architecture heritage and a contemporary hotel experience. The railway station hotel project consists of the restoration and adaptive reuse of administrative buildings of Finnish State Railways VR and the contemporary addition that completes the stations north end.

The Helsinki Central Railway Station and its administrative buildings are among Eliel Saarinen’s most important achievements. It is a very carefully preserved example of Saarinen’s quiet, “rational” nationalism. The station was completed in 1919 and it became strong part of the rising Finnish identity. In 2013, the BBC listed Saarinen’s railway station among the ten most beautiful railway stations in the world.

The vision of the new design is to create a contemporary hotel experience while taking care of one of the most highly valued piece of architecture. The new hotel building will transfer the dignity and refined details and materials of the Station’s façade to the edges of Kaisaniemi Park. The northern façade will become one of the main facades of the Station.

Hermes is blurring the boundaries between new and old architecture and to creating a stylistic symbiosis. By interpreting Eliel Saarinen’s architecture boldly from a totally new perspective, we’re creating contemporary architecture, that makes both the old and the new elements interesting. The plan honours the logic of the original Station: for example, the layout of the new building follows Eliel Saarinen’s principle of an indented façade and leaves the ends of the original building in plain sight.

The new construction will house 120 rooms with a total surface area of approximately 4,000 m². The entire development will have approximately 27,000 m² and 500 rooms. Once completed in 2021, it will be one of the largest hotels in Finland.

Exilion Management Oy and Scandic Hotels Oy
Helsinki, Finland
4200 m2
Aleksi Niemeläinen, Teemu Seppänen, Auvo Lindroos, Veikka Entelä, Erno Honkonen, Iikka Airas, Patrick Perämäki, Fanni Suvila, Tiina Teräs
Soini & Horto Architects, Puroplan, Wise Group Finland Oy (Competition phase), A-Insinöörit Oy, Granlund, Pohjatekniikka, Rejlers, Akukon, GBP, Paloff, Paloässät

Photography: Barabild