Latest News
HomeAviationHelsinki Airport’s new iconic entrance

Helsinki Airport’s new iconic entrance

The impressive wooden roof and the central square in front of the new terminal will become landmarks of the airport. Inspiration for the roof was Tapio Wirkkala’s Ultima Thule sculpture that is made of plywood used in airplanes.

WASHINGTON – The next phase of Finavia's gigantic investment at Helsinki Airport will begin when the airport's check-in and arrivals halls and public transport connections are revamped. At the beginning of 2020, a completely new area serving air passengers will be completed in front of the current terminal.

Finavia organised an architectural competition for the expansion of Terminal 2, and the results of the competition were published on 5 June 2017. ALA Architects' proposal called City Hall was chosen as the winner. The working group also included Arkkitehtitoimisto HKP and Ramboll Finland.

The impressive wooden roof and the central square in front of the new terminal will become landmarks of the airport. Inspiration for the roof was Tapio Wirkkala's Ultima Thule sculpture that is made of plywood used in airplanes.  

Laila Pullinen's Aurinko tunturissa (Sun of the Fells) has been displayed at the airport since 1969. Pullinen's copper relief depicts the sun and the rugged fell landscape of Lapland. This could also be said of the wavy central square that will be built in front of the terminal.

The chairperson of the competition's board and Airport Director Ville Haapasaari from Finavia describes the winning design, City Hall, as an entity with memorable and open architecture.

"Over the years, Helsinki Airport has been built piece by piece, and the different sections of the terminal represent design and architecture from different decades. City Hall combines all of these into one impressive entity that creates a smooth passenger path from the terminal doors all the way to the airplane seat," says Haapasaari.

This is what the expansion will look like: grand airport to greet passengers arriving in Finland

The terminal expansion will in the future house the check-in, security control, baggage drop and an area for greeting passengers.

The current departure and arrivals halls of Terminal 2 will undergo a complete transformation and become part of the gate area. This means the airport will have plenty of more space for passengers and more opportunities to make its service offering more diverse.

"The renewing Helsinki Airport also provides an excellent service experience for passengers arriving in Finland and a positive first impression of our country," says Haapasaari.

The expansion will be built where the current parking hall P1/P2 stands. The entrance to the expansion will be completed with a square in front of the terminal.

The construction work will begin at the earliest after summer 2018.  

Architects and objectives of City Hall
The objective of the architectural competition was to create a suggestion for the expansion of Terminal 2 and also for the airport's regional plan. This is one way of better linking the airport to different modes of transport.  

"Helsinki Airport is already an important European air traffic hub and also one of the largest bus and train interchanges in Finland, offering road and sea links to Russia, Tallinn and the Nordic and Baltic countries," says Haapasaari.  

The winning proposal was created by a working group including architects SAFA Juho Gronholm, Antti Nousjoki and Samuli Woolston from ALA Architects. They were assisted by ALA Architects SAFA Lotta Kindberg, Pauliina Rossi and Petri Herrala as well as students of architecture David Gallo and Rachel Murray. Architects SAFA Pekka Leskela and Mikko Suvisto from HKP were also involved, as well as Jukka Siren from Ramboll Finland. Ramboll Finland's Pekka Kuorikoski, Pekka Ahola, Juha Aberg, Rauno Laatikainen and Juho Suolahti participated in the project as consultants. VIZarch's Petra Grisova, Vratislav Zika and Jakub Frolik were responsible for the visualisations.

"Typographically speaking, airports are among the few new buildings of the modern era. Passengers flow through them in a controlled manner and their operations are process-like, but their look and atmosphere are always significant. The airport is a starting point for adventures and a place that wishes passengers welcome. And we haven't forgotten about beauty and romance in the design of City Hall, either," says Juho Gronholm, partner at ALA Architects.  

The design project is partly funded by the European Union's CEF programme.

Helsinki Airport expansion in a nutshell

  • The terminal will be expanded by a total of 103,000 square metres. It corresponds to an area the size of the Linnanmaki amusement park in Helsinki.
  • The total area of the terminal in 2020 will be more than 250,000 square metres. You could fit 10 Finnish Parliament Houses inside the terminal.
  • The number of bridge gates for wide-body aircrafts will be doubled from 8 to 16.
  • Baggage handling capacity will increase by 50 per cent.
  • The apron, meaning the aircraft parking areas and taxiways, will be renovated over an area of 330,000 square metres. The size of the construction site is equal to 65 football pitches.
  • The airport's total area is 1,800 hectares. If the airport were placed over the city of Helsinki, it would stretch from Kaisaniemi to Katajanokka and Toolo.

The aim of Finavia's development programme, worth EUR 900 million, is to strengthen the position of Helsinki Airport in both the international competition between airports and as a significant airline hub between Europe and Asia. An internationally competitive airport is important for the wellbeing of the whole of Finland as it helps to maintain good flight connections for Finns to all destinations around the world. The expansion will allow the airport to serve 20 million passengers annually by the year 2020. 

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.