Leena Brooke and Tom Cederqvist know OOPS inside out. From the architect’s perspective, the building is both well accessible on a human scale and an impressive headquarters-level entirety.
Rising in the Hatsinanpuisto area of Leppävaara, the Oasis of Professionals, also called OOPS in more familiar terms, is the result of long development work, several plan alterations and an elaborate design.
”With OOPS, the Leppävaara area evolving around the Sello Shopping Centre gets a new dimension and focal point when the city centre grows organically towards the Hatsinanpuisto park, extending to the opposite side of Ring Road I,” Partners Brooke and Cederqvist of Cederqvist & Jäntti Arkkitehdit Oy explain.
Becoming part of a lively urban environment
OOPS is more than just a building: it is an entire city district with its roots deep in the Leppävaara soil. The area boasts buildings dating back to many different decades, so there is even historical depth to the project.
”Leppävaara is a real city already, but also an area that develops constantly. All existing premises and realities are taken into account at OOPS: the building stock, earlier plans and the entire cityscape. Not only is OOPS an interesting office project, but also a versatile city-making project to become an integral part of a living urban milieu,” Cederqvist summarises.
”The area is currently one of our most fascinating development projects with many different operators involved. Similar mixed-use projects permit creating the best possible synergy. It is a rare opportunity to get to build an area like Hatsinanpuisto, because there are no other places as versatile as this in the greater Helsinki area.”
Human scale, workable and flexible
The starting point of the building design was to create a human-scale property to match the surrounding milieu and existing architecture with its tower blocks. Above all, OOPS is designed focusing on high functionality and life-cycle flexibility.
”OOPS is cut both vertically and horizontally into smaller blocks so to say. The design represents new thinking in which the deep-framed and meandering building takes the necessary form that the future users want. For example, there can be several entrances,” Cederqvist describes.
The building’s ground floor, or the service floor, continues through the arcade all the way to the park. Thereby the ground floor communicates with the park which forms a kind of an extension to the building. The first floor houses common-use spaces encouraging encounters between people and supporting social well-being among the employees.
Easy-access headquarters-level office space
According to the architects, OOPS’ massing divides the building into separate cubes to increase energy efficiency. Its tall windows differ from the conventional horizontal alignment of office windows: they bring the trees into the higher floors and give new dynamics to the façades.
The building’s colour palette is chosen from autumn colour shades, and the façade seems to grow lighter when viewed from the bottom upwards, where the concrete fibre boarding turns into metal façade cladding. There are even little surprises in the creation, such as the atrium, which is a rarity nowadays, and the lobby space which is arranged on two levels.
”OOPS is at the same time both well accessible on a human scale and a handsome looking headquarters-level ensemble,” Cederqvist summarises.
Park + brook = green soul
OOPS is where work, living, shopping, the nature and experiences all come together as the interesting combination of offices, accommodation, parking, shopping centres, sports facilities and residential multi-storey buildings rising in the area.
OOPS’ key attraction is definitely the green area which connects the new development to the existing Leppävaara quarters of the Sello Shopping Centre. A unique twist is offered by the Monikonpuro brook. The brook and the park together form the green soul of the area.
The architects cannot stop admiring Leppävaara’s perfect location at the junction point of the best connections, including rail traffic. It is the location that makes OOPS such an easily accessible and attractive building. The light rail line Raide-Jokeri will add to the ease – there will be a tram stop just around the corner.
Constant trends, changing trends
According to Cederqvist, among the current trends in office façade design are correctness, honesty, coarseness and functionality while, on the other hand, there is less playfulness in today’s façade arrangements. The variability and flexibility of interior spaces are also present more strongly.
Although the trends of construction are reflected both in the façades and the interior spaces, strong trends, after all, tend to change quite slowly in Brooke’s and Cederqvist’s opinion. There has been talk about matters such as sustainability, improved urban structure and increasing the density and versatility since the 1990s.
”The matters could be called differently, but the idea remains. Today, the new thinking and spirit is about locating offices as part of a diverse urban structure and city life instead of outlying office blocks.”