A whole residential quarter consisting of four apartment buildings was developed in Helsinki’s South Hermanni district. Wienerberger pavers were chosen for the layout of the yards, which played a pivotal role in the overall design process.

Project details

Reference object Redesign of a courtyard, Helsinki, Finland
Client VVO Asunnot Oy
Architect Architects Sarlin+Sopanen and Landscape architect VIREARC
Used Pavers Penter Padova
Completion 2013

Paved courtyard with houses in the background

Redesign of a courtyard in Helsinki

Ceramic pavers combined with other materials

Redesign of a courtyard in Helsinki

Ceramic pavers combined with other materials

Redesign of a courtyard in Helsinki

A high-quality residential neighbourhood

“We considered the design of the yards as part of the architectural concept right from the beginning”, say architects Olli Sarlin and Marja Sopanen, who won the architectural competition for overall planning. Their aim was to create a high-quality residential neighbourhood with a cosy atmosphere.

The area

South-Hermanni is in the vicinity of Helsinki city centre. For several decades, the area was primarily used for industrial purposes. Parts of Helsinki University were also located there. After the migration of the industry, old buildings were demolished and the area was cleared for housing construction. Only an old road built of red brick is reminiscent of the old days. The newly constructed residential buildings were finished with Wienerberger clay facing bricks. The paving material for the yards was selected in accordance with the city’s plan, which outlined the use of natural building materials: the choice was between natural stone and pavers.

Appealing clay pavers

Landscape architect Soile Heikkinen from VIREARC developed the design of the yard. She explains that with this project, the materials had to reach a certain level of quality and that the slightly more robust ceramic paver better fulfilled the requirements of the building plan. “Ceramic pavers were selected to create a consistent look around the whole block. Just like the older buildings in the area, the new houses have brick façades. Furthermore, they are distinguished by their high quality and are also visually more appealing than many other materials”, notes architect Sarlin.

It's the big picture that counts

The paver colour was selected based on the history of the area and the surrounding older buildings, which all show different red brick shades. The matching paver product was finally found in Wienerberger’s Penter range. It was also used for accessibility ramps at the entrances and for a few staircases around the yard. The paved area measures 4,500 square metres over three yards in total. The different shapes and materials generate a very special appearance, which is also nice to look at from the windows of the surrounding residential buildings. Using pavers to cover the ground was a new experience for the architects, but they are very happy with the result.
“These days, urban yards are appreciated much more than in the past, and people are ready to invest in these places. A beautiful, cosy yard increases the value of the property and of each individual apartment”, notes architect Sarlin.

Related inspiration articles