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Hotel Seurahuone renovated into a luxury hotel with the help of information modelling

Project

Hotel Grand Hansa renovation

Project Developer

Sweco PM Oy

Commission

Construction and BIM coordination

Client

Ylva Group

Schedule

2019-2022

Gross area

15 000 m²

Hotel Seurahuone renovated into a luxury hotel with the help of information modelling

The building complex consisting of Hotel Seurahuone, the Old and New Student House and the Hansatalo building is one of the best known landmarks in central Helsinki. Sweco’s BIM coordinators are guiding the renovation of the valuable property into a new luxury hotel, Hotel Grand Hansa. The information model will also be utilised during the use and maintenance of the property.

Ylva, the company that manages the properties of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, owns the Seurahuone property built in 1912. It will soon form a part of the first luxury hotel of the Hyatt chain in the Nordic countries. In late 2022, Helsinki will receive a new five-star hotel in a prime location at the corner of Mannerheimintie and Kaivokatu.

In addition to Hotel Seurahuone, Hotel Grand Hansa will include parts of the New Student House. Extensive demolitions will be carried out in both buildings. “The most significant changes to the facilities are caused by the construction of 224 new hotel rooms, as cramped offices and old hotel rooms are turned into airy and luxurious spaces,” explains Ylva’s Construction Manager Verneri Lehtovirta.

The most challenging technical task is to heighten the Hansatalo building into the most modern part of the hotel with a glass facade. The dome of the Student House will house a champagne bar and a winter garden will be located in the middle of the property. Luxurious spa and sauna facilities and a five-star gym, appropriate for a five-star hotel, are to be located in the basement. Despite all these changes, many things will remain as they are.

“The late Art Nouveau building of Hotel Seurahuone is protected by the city plan’s SR-1 class, meaning that the facade will not be touched,” Lehtovirta says. “In cooperation with the Helsinki City Museum, we will also protect many valuable interiors, such as lobbies, staircases and offices.”

Initial data of the historical site received through laser scanning

The valuable old property was an exceptionally complex site, in terms of demolitions alone. The level of measuring and modelling had to be defined accurately.

“The first critical point of BIM coordination was the drafting of the measuring programme and then deciding on the features to be modelled,” Lehtovirta says. Information modelling allowed us to see the whole and fill the gaps in the initial data. “There were many repairs performed by tenants, which made information control challenging.”

The property complex was laser scanned before and after demolition, as the accuracy of drawings required a great deal of specification. “Floor plans could be off by dozens of centimetres,” explains Sweco’s BIM Coordinator Juuso Erkkilä. “Laser scanning provided accurate initial data on building locations and the thicknesses of different structures, for example.”

Lehtovirta feels that the BIM coordinator had an important role in the contractor procurement and design coordination. “The buildings will receive new technology and lift shafts, meaning that one of the BIM coordinator’s key tasks is to ensure uncontradicted, high-quality designs,” Lehtovirta emphasises.

Same BIM available to all in the cloud

The project will implement an ambitious practice, where separate designers and architects will work with the same BIM through a cloud service.

“Ramboll will update the BIM of Arkkitehdit Soini & Horto Oy in the cloud until the existing structures have been examined as accurately as possible,” Erkkilä explains. “This is the first Finnish construction project that works with a single up-to-date BIM that can be modified from different locations.”

During the project, the BIM is used to illustrate design solutions to different parties. “The virtual model allows us to examine solutions together with the user, the property owner and the authorities. The visualisation also helps with internal discussions,” Lehtovirta says.

The information model will be specified even further so that it can be utilised during the use and maintenance of the hotel. “The designers have received accurate requirements so that the information can be refined and the model used for maintenance purposes in the future,” Erkkilä says.

The first critical point of BIM coordination was the drafting of the measuring programme.”
– Verneri Lehtovirta, Ylva

“Information modelling allowed us to see the whole and fill the gaps in the initial data.”
– Verneri Lehtovirta, Ylva

“The key thing in BIM coordination is to ensure uncontradicted, high-quality designs.”
– Verneri Lehtovirta, Ylva

“The virtual model allows us to examine solutions together with the user, the property owner and the authorities. The visualisation also helps with internal discussions.”
– Verneri Lehtovirta, Ylva

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