The building was constructed in the 1830s, and it is located in a block of university buildings at Unioninkatu 37. It is also known as the main building of the old clinic. The property was originally built to serve as a hospital, but it was converted into teaching and office premises for the University of Helsinki in the 1990s. Since then, it has been used by the Faculty of Social Sciences. Snellmania and the other university buildings constitute a built cultural environment of national and cultural-historical significance, so the building’s façades, structures and some of the interiors are protected. The building has been protected under the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage and the planning of the renovations has been carried out in close co-operation with the Finnish Heritage Agency.
The property consists of the main building and two wings. The premises will be renovated in phases to better support the university's teaching and research. The total area of the basic renovation will be approximately 5,300 square metres (gross). When the repairs and alterations are planned, special attention will be paid to ensure that the façades, the frame of the building and the fixed interior structures are retained. The building elements will be repaired and partially replaced where necessary in such a way that the structures, materials and working methods correspond to the original implementation and are compatible with the building’s distinctive characteristics. However, the need for responsible and sustainable repair solutions throughout the building’s life cycle and carbon footprint will also be taken into consideration.
“We will modernise the Snellmania real estate property while respecting its origins. The site will be an excellent addition to the demanding renovations we have carried out. We have completed several similar basic renovation contracts for Helsinki University Properties. We have robust expertise in renovating properties with important cultural-historical value, especially in city centres. Among the extensive basic renovations we have conducted in the past are Think Corner and the Kaisa House for the University of Helsinki, the Brondankulma building, and the Stockmann department store in the city centre. In addition, we are currently renovating the Elanto building in Hakaniemi,” says Jouni Forsman, SRV’s Senior Vice President responsible for business premises in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
“For my part, I think every day when I come to work that it is a pleasure and an honor to work in a historic building. The forthcoming renovation will further enhance the environment needed for today’s teaching and work, while respecting the architecture and history of the building,” says the user of the building, Marjaana Seppänen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.