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The Sibelius Academy

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The Sibelius Academy

  • Sibelius Academy
  • Student restaurant
  • Staircase inside of the building
  • Music lesson
  • Dome of the Sibelius Academy

Skanska renovated the old National Board of Antiquities building owned by Helsingin yliopistokiinteistöt Oy and located in Etu-Töölo in Helsinki for the use of the University of the Arts, the Sibelius Academy.

The demanding renovation of the Sibelius Academy at Nervanderinkatu 13 in Töölö during 2013 and 2014 is the second stage of a project in which the functions of the academy are being concentrated in the district of Töölö. The building was originally completed in 1937 for the use of Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu SYK (Helsinki Finnish Co-Educational School). From 1972 until 2013, it was used by the National Board of Antiquities.

The building renovated with respect to old traditions

During the renovation, several rooms converted in the 1970s were returned to their original form. The work ensured that the serviceable external walls, the bearing wall and the original windows and doors on the facade and stairwells were preserved in the condition they had been in in the old building. The floors were converted into floating soundproofed structures. The building’s ventilation systems and other building technology were completed renovated. The 1970s floor was removed from the old gymnasium of the Finnish Co-Educational School, and the space was divided up into organ classrooms.

A restaurant in the inner courtyard

As part of the renovation, an additional building was constructed in the courtyard, housing a restaurant with a kitchen and social facilities. There is a direct connection to the restaurant and the building’s lobby from the courtyard-side entrance on the side of Museopuisto park. During the renovation, a path for pedestrians and cyclists was opened through the park to the building’s inner courtyard.

Special expertise in construction

As part of the renovation, some indoor facilities were converted for the special needs of the Sibelius Academy. Stringent requirements for acoustics were taken into account in the structures of such things as the new floors, partition walls and ceilings. The acoustic properties of the windows were improved by renewing the inner glass and frames.

The restaurant building was constructed in the inner courtyard by extending the existing basement floor under the courtyard. Among the special features of the new building is an igloo-shaped, concrete dome, a dome-shaped concrete structure over the entrance to the restaurant. This was only the second time in the world and the first in Europe that such a form had been made.

In the renovation, the floor of the old basement floor inside the building was dug out and made about 50 cm lower and new ground slabs were cast. The roof of the courtyard wing was renewed and its ground-floor floor lowered to make a higher room for organs.

The history of the building

The building originally used by the Finnish Co-Educational School was designed by architect Väinö Vähäkallio in the 1930s. The former school building represents Functionalism. Gunnar Finne carved the Tree of Knowledge reliefs in the main entrance. Efforts were made to preserve the look of the facade in terms of its plasterwork and windows.


Urmas Soots
District Manager


Service: Construction
Mark segment: Education
Start date: 2013
Completion date: 2014
Clients: Helsingin yliopistokiinteistöt Oy
Country: Finland
City: Helsinki
Project status: Completed