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Joint building venture Albatrossi

Project

Housing company Helsingin Albatrossi’s joint building venture (Sompasaari, Helsinki)

Client

Housing company Helsingin Albatrossi

Carried out by

Saraco D&M Oy (Sweco)

Commission

consultation and project management for a joint building venture

Construction year

2015–2021

Size

47 flats, two stairways and a shared sauna and communal areas
Sustainable solutions: geothermal heating; flat-specific monitoring of consumption with an IoT system and mobile application available to the residents; charging points for electric bikes

Joint building venture Albatrossi offers high-quality living in Helsinki’s Sompasaari

Housing company Helsingin Albatrossi was constructed as a joint building venture and has met the residents’ expectations. Each home reflects its occupants, including the choice of materials and layout. The details of this block of flats, which utilises geothermal heating, speak of sustainability and high quality.

A joint building venture is an alternative way of getting on the housing ladder. A construction consultant finds a suitable piece of land, takes care of all the zoning requirements and initiates the planning. ‘When we start putting together a group of residents, work on the location has already been carried out for several years,’ says customer service manager Rauni Kolehmainen from Sweco.

Joint building ventures are not considered to be an exchange of contracts, and, instead, the housing company shares are bought as they are released, and therefore no transfer tax is payable. ‘The shareholders construct the building for themselves, and a construction consultant manages the project,’ Kolehmainen says.

Supporting residents from the start

The joint building venture, completed in 2021, met the expectations of housing company Helsingin Albatrossi’s residents. ‘The project was carried out exactly as agreed, and any changes were made flexibly,’ says chair of the board Mika Suominen.

The land reservation for Albatrossi was made in 2015, and the housing company was founded in January 2018. ‘All shares must be sold before the decision to start building is made,’ says Sweco’s project manager Sanna Pusila, who was responsible for the project’s financial aspects. She gives praise to the cooperation with the housing company. ‘Everyone was able and active, and they were keen on having an influence. Afterall, the building was constructed for them!’

Sweco supported the residents from the first meeting onwards, all the way to the exchange of keys. Suominen is particularly pleased with the project management, the foreman and keeping the residents informed. ‘Things were handled very pragmatically and professionally, and at no point did anyone behave arrogantly towards us amateurs. No questions were left unanswered.’

Joint building ventures aim towards quality housing

Each resident was able to choose the floor and direction of their flat, and design a bespoke home, down to the choice of materials, kitchen units and layout solutions. Furthermore, the shareholders had a say in the design of the building’s shared facilities. ‘The eight floor has an amazing sauna, complete with communal space and a kitchen, and a laundry room is located downstairs,’ Pusila says.

Suominen is convinced that the joint building venture significantly increased the quality of the flats. ‘Their high quality is evident in all the materials, the windows that reach from floor to ceiling, and the under-floor heating. None of the flats have radiators,’ he emphasises.

Foreman Hannu Mönkkönen from Fira compared the project to building 47 detached houses, and the residents feel the same. ‘The intermediate floors were cast in situ, which makes the flats so quiet that sometimes it feels like we are living in a detached house in the middle of the city.’

The residents control their own energy consumption

Albatrossi is part of Smart Kalasatama, a Smart City district in Helsinki. During the design phase, the housing company considered using marine heat, solar panels and harvesting heat from waste water, but in the end the residents chose the affordable and sustainable geothermal energy. ‘During a severe cold spell in the first winter, geothermal energy was enough to keep the whole building warm,’ Kolehmainen says.

The residents are also able to affect how much energy they consume. The building has charging points for electric bikes, and each flat has IoTflow home automation equipment. ‘The residents can monitor their water and energy consumption, and control the temperature with a user panel in their flat and a mobile application,’ Kolehmainen explains.

The last building to be completed in its block, Albatrossi is like the cherry on the cake. Kalasatama’s services are nearby, and the views from the flats are incredible. ‘We can see the sea, architect Reima Pietilä’s buildings and St. John’s Church all from our living room,’ Suominen says. Additionally, a pier is being built in front of the building, and restaurant boats are expected to moor there in the summer.

“Things were handled very pragmatically and professionally, and at no point did anyone behave arrogantly towards us amateurs. No questions were left unanswered.” – Mika Suominen, housing company Helsingin Albatrossi
“Albatrossi is part of Smart Kalasatama, a Smart City district in Helsinki.’ ‘During a severe cold spell in the first winter, geothermal energy was enough to keep the whole building warm.” – Rauni Kolehmainen, Sweco
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