Borgströminmäki apartment block

Background: invited competition 2016, 1st prize
Type: building and courtyard design
Client: Kojamo, Lumo-kodit
Status: completed
Timeline: 2016–2020
Location: Kruunuvuorenranta, Helsinki
Scope of project: 3100 m² housing (62 apartments), 600 m² commercial
Team: Vesa Humalisto (partner in charge), Kristina Östman (project architect), Maiju Lehtimäki (project architect), Leena Buller (landscape arch. in charge), Anni-Mari Anttola, Ville Mellin, Antonino Vitale
Competition: Sami Heikkinen (pääsuunnittelija), Vesa Humalisto, Antti Lehto, Emilia Ellilä
Collaborators: Tomi Humalisto, Anna Shkodenko
Photography: Osmo Puuperä, Daniel Reini


An ingenious floor plan brings a new level of efficiency and light to the apartments.


The apartment block is located in the new housing district of Kruunuvuorenranta, to the east of the central Helsinki.

The building’s character is reflected in the Kruunuvuorenranta terrain: urban development encroaching on a rugged natural setting.

Beauty in simplicity

The building masses enclose a new urban square. The simplicity of masonry form is garnished with subtle shifts in brickwork ornamentation and colour.

Kalevala inspired light installation

In front of the apartment block, there is an interactive sculpture. Madonluvut (2019) is a collaboration of two artists: Anna Shkodenko from Estonia and Tomi Humalisto from Finland.

The sculpture is made of stainless steel and light, which shifts its intensity in accordance with the movements of people passing by. There is a rune from the Finnish national epic Kalevala, in which Lemminkäinen beats a snake not with bloodshed, but with knowledge. The words were handwritten by people of different ages and origins, and then cut through the surface of the stainless steel serpent.

Photo: Anna Shkodenko

Functional and efficient floor plans

The basic design creates functional apartments and an efficient stairway solution. The larger apartments can extend through the spine of the building.

Unification of buildings and place

The forms of the open space to the front and wooded courtyards to the rear are enhanced by the vocabulary of the building. Use of brickwork masonry throughout the building and landscaping lends a robust quality to the delicate linearity and surface protrusions.

The building and its landscaped squares create an entity whose character is defined by the boundary between urban and natural.