Helsinki Waterfront Hotel by Herzog & de Meuron



Architects Herzog & de Meuron have designed Helsinki Waterfront Hotel, a cross-shaped 5 star hotel on Helsinki's waterfront.


The hotel is due to open in 2010.


Here's some info from Herzog & de Meuron:


No. 311
Helsinki Waterfront Hotel
Helsinki, Finland
2007 –, planned completion 2010


Helsinki’s greatest natural asset is its water. It is the reason for the city’s location and has sustained its economy. The picturesque waterfront remains a favorite natural place to walk and relax.


Another specific feature of Helsinki is its historic center. It contains the city’s famous monuments and remains the most popular urban destination for residents and visitors. The regular street grid of the center was the great modern feature of the 19th century city and still defines its character and growth.


The Helsinki Waterfront Hotel combines these strong assets to form a new prominent destination. Located at the edge of Katajanokka and the city center, at the point where the Esplanadi opens onto the South Harbour, the new building continues the central public space further along the waterfront. Standing at the water, in a reflective glass wrap, the new hotel belongs to the city center and the harbour water alike.

The form of the building is a direct response to the classicist grid and at the same time an efficient translation of the program: a 5 star hotel with 200 guest rooms. A cross layout on the ground level contains the four main public parts and services. A second cross, hovering above, accommodates the guest units. The cross on the ground is oriented to the local street grid and harbour bank at Katajanokka, relating the hotel to its neighbours on the street level.

The hovering cross above is rotated to the grid of the historic city, bringing the strong features of the center to the peninsula. The different orientations of the two crosses create a dynamic presence: they anchor the building to its site and, at the same time, detach it from its immediate surroundings, linking it to the city center.

The area around the hotel is transformed by reclaiming back water. The proposed pool continues the necklace of basins where the city center meets the South Harbour. A new pier extends the walk from the Esplanadi deep into the harbour, allowing a spectacular view from the water back to the historic city.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2008
Project Number: 311

Project Name: Helsinki Waterfront Hotel

Address: Katajanokanlaituri 2, 00160 Helsinki, Finland

Project Phases

Concept Design: May 2007 - October 2007

Planned completion: 2010

Project Team

Partner: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler

Project Architect: Tomislav Dushanov (Associate), Kivi-Mikael Keller (Project Manager)

Project Team: Eetu Arponen, Michael Bär, Hauke Jungjohann, Sara Secci, Iva Smrke

Client: Arthur Buchardt, AB Invest A/S, Norway


Architect Planning: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland

Construction Management: Skanska, Helsinki, Finland

Industrial Sector: Skanska, Helsinki, Finland


Site Area: approx. 20 000m2

Building Footprint: approx. 2 450 m2

Building Dimensions

Length: aprox. 76m
Width: aprox. 76m
Height: 24,70m

Gross Volume (GV): approx. 54 500m3 (above ground)

Gross Floor Area (GF): approx. 14 800m2 (above ground)

Facade Surface: approx. 6 700m2

Number of Levels: 6 (excluding basement)

Posted on Monday April 7th 2008 at 2:24 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • poster

    they’re placing the swiss flag in finland!

  • el pelu

    Do they have photos taken from London?
    the link between the city and the building sounds great though

  • Quy Long

    hotel or a hospital? LOL

  • Isn’t that the former location of Aalto??? What happend to Aalto’s building???

  • Post

    no, aalto is the white block next to it (see image 3)

  • James

    could i see another aerial?

  • Danny

    imposing and totally insensitive to it’s context. Recreational Architecture should make a contribution to public space. it screams corporate.

  • Fred

    yet another example of architects focusing 100% on designing a building and forgetting the spaces surrounding it. 30 years from now it will be seen as a big beast from an era of architectural experiments. has that possibly happened before…

  • I have never seen things like in.

  • pop

    it just looks like a big block from ground level, you dont appreciate the cross at all unless you’re flying

  • Jim

    It’s two floors too high, otherwise, fantastic. ;)

  • Pasi

    ..suppose a cross is as good form as any to slap in, but the spaces in the triangular courtyards are probably going to be drab and uninhabitable.
    Shade, snow and the rest.. Hopefully the night club will be decent..

  • Pekka

    I’ve heard the architect didn’t even visit Helsinki before the plan was published. The scenes on this page don’t show the view from the sea and from the direction of the famous 18 century sea bastion island Suomenlinna in front of Helsinki. It’s obvious this building would distroy the national heritage landscape of this white empire city opening from the sea with beautiful profile and unique empire city blocks. The plan is simply too dominant, it’s in a wrong place!

  • Raasteri

    It seems to be just a big glass box, I mean a big glass Swiss cross just in middle of the most historical Empire center of Helsinki, one of the national heritage landscapes in Finland. Hmh. As a building, it is not so bad, but the location is totally unsuitable. 1 km north, for example, would be just a good place for this.

  • samu

    This seems to be big joke from Herzog&de Meuron. It does not communicate with the city or culture, they are just willing to show that they are so big stars that they can assembly swiss flag to the one of the best places in Helsinki. But that will not happen, we would be happy to see H&M in Helsinki but they need to work litle bit more for that.

  • Pekka

    The head of the Helsinki city planning committee Tuomas Rajajärvi had a 3d-model made. He tries to prove to us, with this model of blank elements, that the building would not be so awful, that it is not too big and it still suits the landscape, and so on.

    And again, this pathetic model misses the central point. It still censures a crucial view from decision makers and from citizens as it does not show the real view from the sea and from the direction of the famous 18th century sea bastion island Suomenlinna in front of Helsinki. It’s obvious this building would destroy the national heritage landscape of this white empire city opening from the sea with beautiful profile and unique empire city blocks.

    Herzog and de Meuron, back off, please! I guess you don’t really want a reputation for ruining unique national heritages in EU with your buildings. I think almost every architect and city planner in Finland is against this project. This isn’t just normal spirit of opposition against “new things”, we have plenty of unprejudiced examples. There just are too many objective reasons against this project. As a Finnish citizen I am really ashamed of this alliance between international hotel business city bureaucracy and global architectural firm which seems to skip all the views of aesthetic professionals, international and Finnish ones.

  • Sam

    “The hotel is due to open in 2010”.. So is it open yet?

  • sw

    nop, they haven’t even started to build it yet and if you read the latest news, it looks like they’ll never ever built it:

  • Michelle

    I'm Australian and have just come back from a holiday to Finland and am so happy this building never got built. We stayed in Katajanokka and walked past this exact spot every day we were there, I can guarantee this building would have ruined the whole area. I hope nothing like this ever gets put in such a beautiful place.

  • a finnish architect

    …and we still have this "such a beautiful place" here, which is actually just a parking lot! The site is a totally depressing dark, windy and rainy place most of the year.
    I really hope they could find something even close as fine architecture as Herzog&deMeuron would have brought to us in that place.
    Not just another "proud to be finnish"-example architecture like the new boring and corporate looking concert building Musiikkitalo.

  • I totally agree with you.