Culture, start-ups and listed companies

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2018-12-17 16:11

In the districts of Keilaniemi, Tapiola and Otaniemi, a significant cluster of economy, innovations and culture is concentrated within a few square kilometres.

Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Tapiola will all be changing in the coming years, but they will still retain their characteristic look. Tapiola will keep the garden district, the central tower designed by Aarne Ervi and the largest pedestrian centre in Finland, but the area surrounding the Cultural Centre and Kulttuuriaukio square will be structured through an architectural design competition to become an even more integral part of the Tapiola centre.

In Keilaniemi, the high towers will remain the landmark, and some will even be added with the construction of residential buildings up to 40 storeys in height as well as a 158-metre office and hotel tower. The Ring I routes will burrow underground by Keilaniemi, and a new park between Tapiola and Keilaniemi will be constructed where the road used to run.

The future of the Keilaniemi waterfront holds many tower blocks. Photo: SARC Architects.

Otaniemi will be developed into a small city that serves a variety of people. The spring of 2018 saw the completion of Väre, Otaniemi’s largest construction project in history, which will combine the metro station centre and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The School of Business will also gain new premises.

The metro will enable effortless mobility: the trip from the Aalto University station to the University of Helsinki station takes 14 minutes.

According to Manager Kirsi Borg of Shopping Centre Ainoa, development in Tapiola would not have proceeded as it has without the decision to build the metro line. The opening of the metro line has increased the number of customers.

“The first ones to arrive were the metro tourists, but since then, Ainoa's visitor number has increased by 20% permanently.”

Good transport connections were also a factor when provider of financial and HR administration services Accountor was looking for new premises. The company ultimately decided on the Neste tower, which has been a landmark in Keilaniemi since the 1970s. At this point, Accountor has partially moved its operations to the neighbouring Keilalampi building. When the company makes the move to the tower block in Keilaniemi in May 2020, Managing Director Niklas Sonkin estimates that the company's number of personnel will be 800–1,000.

“It’s not easy to find a facility for a group of people this big. The most important criterion was good transport connections for as many people as possible. Our staff commute from a wide area, and Keilaniemi is easy to access by metro, bus, car or bicycle, which many of our people do.”


Väre is one of the largest construction projects in the history of Otaniemi. Väre is based on the proposal of Verstas Architects, which won the architectural competition held between 2012 and 2013. Photo: Jyrki Vesa.

Sonkin characterises the combination formed by Otaniemi and Keilaniemi as internationally interesting. The area is seeing the formation of a hub where the city, university, companies and other services meet.

“There are listed companies with a turnover in the billions and then there are start-ups. The developments will facilitate interaction between people, which is bound to lead to innovations and growth. Still, the future will not be built by large corporations and start-ups alone, although I believe their strong influx will continue.”

Kirsi Borg says that people associate a certain positive quality to Tapiola. She has heard this in the positive comments of business owners during the process of looking for tenants for the shopping centre's commercial premises. The next expansion will be completed in 2019.

“The updates will restore Tapiola's status as a centre for commerce, culture and business.”

According to Borg, the association with quality stems from Tapiola’s reputation as a garden district and the recognisable simplified architecture – contrast between light and dark hues.

Sustainable development, which manifests itself in Tapiola in land use alongside a functional public transport system, is something that Kirsi Borg finds extremely important.

“A dense urban structure combines transport routes and stations, parking, commercial premises and housing. More than 300 new housing units will be constructed above the shopping centre.”

Keilaniemi – high tech and business hub

Otaniemi – a unique innovation hub

Tapiola – hub of culture, arts and sports