US Embassy Renovation and Chancery Addition

Helsinki, Finland
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO)
BL Harbert International, LLC

Targeting Platinum
Sustainable stormwater
Low Impact Development

Services/Project Type
Civil Engineering
Site Development
Utility Infrastructure
Low Impact Development
Land Use and Master Planning
Stormwater Management
The Helsinki Embassy campus renovation represents a new pinnacle for KPFF and for the US Department of State Overseas Buildings Operations’ Design Excellence program. The project’s Innovation Center achieved LEED Platinum, exceeding original goals—a first for an overseas US diplomatic facility.

The challenges presented by the 101-year-old campus site perched on a craggy hillside were daunting and intriguing, prompting the need to compress operations into an unusually small space. The KPFF team repeatedly exercised ingenuity to balance modern security and functional needs with aesthetic values in less than a third the usual space. The Embassy also needed to remain secure and operational despite extensive blasting for rock excavation.

Utility congestion at the Helsinki site, with its unusual district heated and cooled water utility, massive duct banks, six-foot frost depth and omnipresent rock, challenged KPFF to push Civil 3D’s capabilities to the limit, creating a more visual, dynamic picture of what needed to happen underground. The team also turned the site’s treacherous topography to their advantage, designing winding roadways and paths that capture dramatic views from elevated terraces, and handsome retaining walls clad in dark local stone.
Awards & Recognition

  • Global Award of Merit, Green Project, Engineering News-Record
  • ACEC Oregon Honor Award