Sanoma House 


Matching pulses – The newspaper and the city 

Finland’s largest media group, the Sanoma Corporation, held an invited architectural competition in 1995 for the design of their new headquarters in the Töölönlahti Bay area in the centre of Helsinki. The design of the building, situated near the Finnish Parliament House, The Museum of Modern Art and the main Helsinki railway station, continued on the basis of the winning entry. 

The nine-storey building is home to the editorial offices of three newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat, Ilta Sanomat and Taloussanomat, but also there are shops, galleries and restaurants adjacent to the pedestrian passages cutting diagonally through the building on the first two floors. The basement levels contain, among other things, delivery and technical spaces, as well as a parking hall of 150 cars. All in all, the building is the workplace for over 1000 people. 

The plan of Sanoma House is a square divided diagonally by two public pedestrian passages. The routes open out on the north side of the building into an interior public square – the so-called Media Plaza – which rises to the full height of the building. Views northwards towards Töölönlahti Bay open up from the Media Plaza through the 35-metre high glass facade. The steel roof structure above the Media Piazza is supported on three smooth-faced concrete columns that, together with the wood-panelled access bridges, create a contrast to the large area of glass walls of the building. 

An overall unity through consistent and complementary detailing was sought for in the design. The exterior facades are mainly glass and steel: consequently, a connection is retained between the open plan office floors and the surrounding cityscape, as well as allowing natural light into the centre of the deep frame. The bustle of the newspaper-publishing house can also be seen in the centre of Helsinki twenty-four hours a day. The exterior glass facades are a double-skin system, in which a second single, laminated and annealed glass layer is fixed about 70cm in front of the first glass facade. The solution makes it easier to control the indoor climate and creates a tight weather protection in front of the facades. The inner façade consists of a steel structure specially developed for this project with a 90mm-wide glazing system. There are louvres at the top and bottom of the double façade controlled by humidity and temperature sensors that open and close depending upon the climate. The 35-metre tall northern glass façade is suspended from the steel roof lattice and braced horizontally with a pre-stressed truss structure.  

The external façade structures are made from glass ball blasted stainless steel. Brown-oxidized copper sheeting was also used as a façade cladding. External and internal wood cladding is made from heat-treated Finnish birch. 


Location: Helsinki, 1999 

Scope: 43 000 brm² 

Client: Sanoma Corporation