US Embassy unveils plans for new building
Innovation centre to be set up in the old consulate
Massive construction work has begun on the site of the United States Embassy in Helsinki’s Kaivopuisto district, said Ambassador Bruce Oreck on Monday. The contract that is worth more than USD 115 million or EUR 84 million is due for completion in 2014.
Over the next three years, the site of the US Embassy will undergo a major transformation.
The Ambassador’s official residence will be renovated and a new white consulate building will go up on the adjacent large parking area.
The rooftop height of the new building will not exceed that of the old buildings, Oreck asserted. In earlier plans, the height exceeded the limits set by the City of Helsinki.
The planned innovation centre, which has attracted much attention, will be set up in the old consulate building, which was designed by Knut Wasastjerna and completed in 1914. All fittings and furnishings have already been taken down and removed from the building.
” The gable windows will be enlarged so that we can have as fine a view as possible of the Fortress Island of Suomenlinna”, Oreck continues.
The aim of the planned new innovation centre is not to do research but to showcase American technology. The uppermost floor will accommodate a dinette in which the Ambassador’s guests can enjoy local and organic food.
Ambassador Bruce Oreck hopes to invite the first luncheon guests to the new premises already in September, when the most important events of the World Design Capital Year are under way. The other premises in the innovation centre are likely to be completed no sooner than late 2012.
According to Ambassador Oreck, the construction work is to follow the strictest possible environmental norms.
”The Finnish Embassy in Washington received a gold LEED certificate. We intend to qualify for the platinum level here in Helsinki”, Oreck enthused.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system evaluates construction projects in six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.
The changes are the handiwork of American architects, but the aim is to obtain all materials in Finland if possible, Oreck says.
For the ordinary Helsinki resident, the upheaval on the site of the United States Embassy will be of little pleasure, as neither the old or new buildings are open to the general public.
Previously in HS International Edition:
US Embassy buildings in Helsinki are facing major refit (28.9.2010)
US Embassy in Helsinki plans new innovation centre (3.10.2011)
Embassy of the United States in Helsinki
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Wikipedia)