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Onnea Olympiastadion - vuoden teräsrakenne on vaatinut oivaltavaa teräsrakennesuunnittelua

Congratulations to the Helsinki Olympic Stadium – innovative steel structure awarded as best of the year

The renovation of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium is nearing the finish line, and the spectacular functionalist building will be reopened in late summer 2020. Now, we are celebrating the remodelled stadium as the winner of the Steel Structure of the Year 2019 award. Sweco’s designers handled the massive renovation undertaking of the culturally and historically significant sports venue, including structural renovation engineering and structural design.

The planning for the renovation of the Olympic Stadium began in 2013. The top-tier project, which involved both renovation and construction, revitalised the old stadium that had reached the end of its technical and functional life span. To the outside eye, not much appears to have changed, but a lot actually has. The designers have matched new structures with ones as old as 80 years, some of which are protected by the National Board of Antiquities. The aim has been to preserve as much of the old as possible, and the design of the challenging steel structures has required wide-ranging expertise, experience and innovation from the Sweco specialists.

The respected Steel Structure of the Year award has been granted to steel structures that promote and illustrate the development of the industry since 1980. The 2019 award was handed out during the Constructional Steelwork Day in Helsinki, 18 November 2019. The top spot was taken by the Olympic Stadium specifically thanks to the excellent architectural and technical implementation of its new canopies. The shape and slightness of the canopy structure was enabled by the impressive and demanding steel structures.

Steel Structure of the Year

In the stadium stands exceptional canopy structures were designed for the Olympic Stadium from steel. The entire design has required the expertise of over 30 Sweco designers in total.

“The structural engineering has required uncompromising cooperation. It has been amazing to see plans launched years ago come to fruition through superb cooperation. Large, carefully designed steel structures have been lifted up as the canopies of the stands. We are all proud to be involved in a project this challenging, important and inspiring,” says Juha Kukkonen, steel structure specialist at Sweco.

The dynamic geometry of the new canopy structures has required innovative structural design. The most challenging parts have been designing the steel structures of the new canopies for the stands. The elevation of different sections of the canopy can be as much as eight metres apart. The eaves resembling the wing of an aeroplane are also challenging, as they narrow down to less than 30 centimetres at their thinnest.

“Implementing the canopy structures has required solutions different from normal construction practices, such as friction joints and almost 100 structural bearings. The management of the geometry of the edge of the thin eaves and other design solutions would not have been as efficient with normal practices, and therefore we have utilised algorithm-based design and parametric modelling,” Kukkonen says.

The Steel Structure of the Year award was granted for design to K2S Architects Ltd, which handled the architectural design of the canopy structure, and Sweco, which designed the demanding structures. The other awardees were the Stadium Foundation, which commissioned the project, the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division, project management contractor Skanska and the Aura-based JPV-Engineering Oy, which installed and partially manufactured the steel structures for the canopy and facade elevation. The steel frame for the canopy was mostly provided by Skanska. JPV-Engineering manufactured the steel structures for the east canopy and facade elevation as well as the Z beams for fastening the fossilised wood battens.
The winner of the Steel Structure of the Year award is selected by an independent jury each year.