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Maintenance of biodiversity plays a key role in hospital development project Assi

Sweco has paid careful attention to the maintenance of the biodiversity of nature surrounding the new central hospital developed in Ahvenisto, Hämeenlinna, by e.g. protecting endangered meadow plants. Inclusion of environmental questions in project planning promotes the objective to build the most human hospital in the world.

Senior Expert Tarja Ojala represents Sweco’s expertise in cherishing biodiversity in the project. Ojala is a biologist who prepared a forestry and landscaping plan for the area between the old hospital and the new building currently in development. There is also an old Orthodox church and a mass grave that dates back from 1918 around the valuable area.

“Ahvenisto is a district rich in grass-herb forest with favourable conditions for lush vegetation. We carried out a comprehensive nature assessment in the area and discovered an endangered meadow and valuable species,” Ojala says.

The new hospital will be built on the meadow. Last summer, Ojala gathered seeds from all the vulnerable plant species in the area that might be overtaken by more resistant species.

“The seeds are now waiting for sowing until landscaping begins. Returning the meadow plants to the area requires a detailed plan. The site must have the right type of earth and enough sunlight during the day.”

Ambitious environmental targets

Project Manager Eeva Rikkilä-Kettunen from the Kanta-Häme Hospital District has been involved in the Assi project since the very beginning. The planning phase took five years. The excavation work will finally begin in August. The hospital is expected to be ready for use in autumn 2026. Sweco is involved in the hospital alliance with Kanta-Häme Hospital District, Skanska and the architect consortium Team Integrated.

“Our efforts to maintain biodiversity is partially related to the RTS environmental classification criteria which we are striving to comply with in this project. In addition to a preserved sun slope area, there is a Natura area next to the existing hospital,” Rikkilä-Kettunen explains.

The nature assessment of plant and animal species in the area mapped out bats’ flight paths, which were taken into account in the lighting plan prepared by Sweco.

“Our goal is to build the most human hospital in the world. I have been impressed by how well all the designers have adopted this principle. Considering environmental and sustainability questions is part of a whole,” says Rikkilä-Kettunen.

Read Sweco’s Urban Insight report examining the ways urban planning can maintain rich biodiversity and how ecosystem services can support public health and well-being

Learn more about the hospital project of Ahvenisto on the project website >>

Image features the hospital project of Ahvenisto from the south. Image: Integrated Työyhteenlittymä, Assi-alliance