The cities of Helsinki and Vantaa wanted to create a timber parking garage system for dense urban areas. The main ideas were to create a flexible system that is economically and ecologically feasible and that the system can be removed and rebuilt in a new location.

As long as we have not gotten rid of private cars we need to solve the needs of their parking. Parking garages are required when building dense urban areas. These facilities should be built as carbon storages maximizing their life span both on the original plot and possibly in future ones.

The current methods of constructing parking garages produce considerable carbon footprints. This project included a thorough study of the the technical issues to solve when building parking facilities in a more sustainable way using wood. The construction system developed on the basis of these studies is highly modular consisting of three basic elements: the straight middle part, the curved end and the rectangular corner. These modules are built using CLT, glue lam and a continuous elastomer floor surface. All the joints are mechanical to enable easy and fast assembly and re-assembly. The open timber structure of the facility is protected from weather using identical inclined plates of Accoya wood with great moisture protection capabilities.

The concept was designed using two case studies: one for Kuninkaantammi in Helsinki and one for Puu-Kivistö in Vantaa.

Kuninkaantammi interior view
Kuninkaantammi street view

Kuninkaantammi plan
Kuninkaantammi South elevation
Puu-Kivistö street view
Puu-Kivistö plan
Puu-Kivistö South elevation with solar panels

Link to project report (in Finnish only):

Project team

Pekka Pakkanen, Antti Mikola, Anna Kontuniemi, Ella Kaira, Qiubing Liu

in co-operation with Tila-Group, Rakennuskonsultointi T. Kekki, RA-Suunnittelu, KK-Palokonsultti, Lamit, Laatuvalo, Innogreen


Cities of Helsinki and Vantaa



Klubien esittely ja aikataulu:

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Building Design

In co-opteration with Helen for A-insinöörit

Solar Foods is looking for a site for their first Solein Protein factory with their headquarters and a visitor experience center on a central city location. Our task was to define three architectural concepts for three different urban plots: alongside a street, in the corner of a block and a freestanding one. The three concepts are designed to share and exhibit the innovative and sustainable values of Solar Foods. The concept of the experience center is both the exhibit the global challenges that need to be tackled and the solutions that lie in the products of Solar Foods.

The task in the larger context

In all closed or circular food production technologies one of the greatest challenges has been to come up with protein. Solar Foods, a Finnish food tech company has managed to create a technique that separates carbon dioxide from the air and turns this into eatable protein.

From an urban planning point of view the centers of our cities have been losing all of their previous production facilities leaving them for commercial facilities, housing and offices. The ground floors of the city block seldom offer interesting views for by passers. 

Street life -concept for a tight urban plot
Courtyard -concept with outdoor event space
Heliocentric concept with public ground floor
Laboratory view

Project team

Pekka Pakkanen, Anna Kontuniemi, Ida Fraser


Solar Foods



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A design for an off grid factory concept that uses solar energy to capture CO2 from thin air and cook it with bacteria to create eatable protein. The facility is composed of a solar energy production field, CO2-capturing installations and the production facility.

The task in a larger context

In all closed or circular food production technologies one of the greatest challenges has been to come up with protein. Solar Foods, a Finnish food tech company has managed to create a technique that separates carbon dioxide from the air and turns this into eatable protein.
What they asked us to do was to create an architectural concept for their facilities so that in the future the protein could be developed in the places where it is consumed.

Our solution

The Factory is designed to be surrounded by the energy production field and the CO2 capture units to create a grand entrance route. The round volume of the building is optimized spatially both for heating and cooling needs. The facades create a continuous solar reflector to keep the extra heat out in hotter climates. The roof windows allow indirect natural light in to minimize the need for artificial lighting.

Project team

Pekka Pakkanen, Simon Mahringer, Benjamin Schulman


Solar Foods



The City of Helsinki held a competition for finding use, users and a renovation & extension concept for the historically valuable Lapinlahti Hospital area in Central Helsinki.

Planetary Architecture designed a carbon neutral vertical park construction for the Y-Säätiö’s competition entry. This modular timber construction was designed to create a new concept for mixing open public functions with supported housing and to produce more energy, oxygen and food than it uses.

The task in the larger context

An idea competition for the Lapinlahti hospital was organised to find a new purpose of use and owner for the buildings in the area. Lapinlahti Hospital, completed in 1841, is the oldest psychiatric hospital in Finland. Both the main building designed by C. L. Engel and the surrounding park are protected. The park is to remain in the ownership of the City and it will be kept as a public area.

Our solution

Our part of the competition was to design a new building including housing and public facilities in a historical park that obviously needs not be made any smaller or is asking for a modern infill on any level. Our approach was to take both the future bicycle route to Espoo and the noise of the surrounding traffic and turn these into the core features of the design.

As the bicycle path will take over one part of the park anyways it was natural to place the building on top of that path – as much of the charm of the existing park has to do with its calming appearance in the core of the buzzling city it was natural to turn the new structure into a noise barrier against the considerable noise of the neighboring routes.

The aim of the design was to add greenery in the park and to look far in the possibilities of the future using a functionally flexible timber framework. The frame could also work to support the construction work leaving the sensitive ground surfaces nearly untouched.

The greenery was integrated in the framework both in multiple ways using roof gardens, multiple techniques of closed circuit agriculture on the facades and roofs of the structure. The southern side of the building was protected from overheat using wild wines and algae based oxygen producing façade products.

The entry was chosen as one of the two projects to continue to the second round of the competition. Once the entry was finished it was not handed in by a decision of our client.

The organizers of the competition and the client did not end up agreeing on the cost of the existing hospital.

Project team

Pekka Pakkanen, Simon Mahringer, Benjamin Schulman, Antti Mikola.
Livady Architects designed the renovations of the historical buildings. Kimmo Rönkä worked as a project manager for the whole





Aalto University Wood program

Helsingin Energia Helen & Planetary Architecture for Rakennusinsinöörien liitto