Case: The Urhea hall

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Project:
Urhea-halli Oy

Location:
Helsinki

Facilities included in the interior design project:
Urhea Foundation’s office premises, meeting spaces at the Urhea hall, shared facilities at the student dormitory, furniture for the hypoxia chambers, and furniture for the Helsinki sports-health clinic HULA 

Number of employees:
Approximately 60 on the office premises at the Urhea hall

Completion date:
August 2021

New premises for those active in top-level sports

The Urhea hall, located near the Mäkelänrinne Swimming Centre, was completed in summer 2021. It is the largest sports hub in Finland, combining facilities for sports, accommodation, and catering on the same campus. This hall with an area of 14,000 m2 includes sports facilities on three floors, coupled with modern and ergonomic office spaces alongside various meeting areas on the fourth floor. 

The goal was to create diverse working spaces where one can just quickly ‘drop by’, work intensively for an extended time, or collaborate with others. Spaces suitable for work in small groups were designed for experts in various fields, such as psychological and nutrition coaching. Meeting rooms in the campus area are available for outsiders too, so the project also involved brand and value promotion.

Both understanding of the industry-specific characteristics and expertise in auditory environments and ergonomy were required from the partner.

‘The collaboration with Kinnarps was very good; they delivered everything as agreed and at the right time, and we found common ground right at the outset. The interior design felt right immediately, and it helped us to understand what you can have in the spaces and how the new premises would function in practice.’

Kaisa Vikkula, Business Director of Urhea-halli Oy

The colours of the Olympic rings

‘In the design proposed by the interior architect, we particularly liked the colours in the conference rooms, which matched those of the Olympic rings: green, blue, yellow, red, and black,’ says Business Director Kaisa Vikkula. 

 

A semi-seated position

Kinnarps inspired us to make use of new ways of working when they designed the work spaces. It’s important for athletes to activate their core but also to be able to relax during conversations with psychological coaches.

Focus on ergonomics and quality

The products were chosen with a focus on quality and ergonomics. The chairs in the conference rooms are height-adjustable and suitable for users of various builds.

Workstations both for brief sessions and for concentrated work

In addition to electric desks, task chairs with a mesh back were chosen for use during brief work sessions.

The screens at the workstations come in two heights. Higher ones were selected for those workstations intended for longer, concentrated sessions. The lower screens, in contrast, maintain the openness of the space while still absorbing sound.

A multifunctional dining room

The Frisbee stools at the kitchen bar counter offer a view of the basketball court. From both the breakout room and the largest meeting room, you are able to follow the athletes’ exercise and games. In addition to eating packed lunches, the breakout room is perfect for hosting small events.

Ergonomic function-oriented spaces for students

There are residential premises next to the hall for students of athletics, managed by Urhea. The goal was to create well-functioning collaborative spaces for students, both for their out-of-class assignments and for use as breakout rooms. The student spaces have desks and chairs of different heights so that one can work either sitting or standing. The chairs are stackable, allowing adaptation of the room as needed. Some of the furniture items in the student spaces are heavy and designed to be hard to move, to ensure that they remain in the right place and that the space remains tidy for all users.

Satisfied users

The new premises have been received positively and were enthusiastically adopted immediately. According to Vikkula, a comment by one of the young athletes living in an Urhea koti flat neatly sums up the result of the project: ‘Everything is brand-new, everything works, the hall is right next to us. Now I can aim to become a world champion.’

Summary

  • The diverse and flexible workspaces of the Urhea hall have been designed to serve both experts and athletes. Kinnarps inspired us to make use of new ways of working when they designed the work spaces.

  • The furniture and materials for the premises were selected carefully, with particular focus on quality. Special attention was paid to ergonomics and the auditory environment.