HELST is a young architecture office based in Helsinki. We are experienced and receptive companion for families with intentions to build the best possible home for them. We have designed single-family houses particularly in the Helsinki metropolitan area and our relations to local building conrtol services are strong.
First meeting and a site visit
We start all our projects by diving in the deep end of the basis and the preconditions. Given circumstances regarding the milieu, plot and the regulations, the wishes and needs of a client and the frame of chosen budget creates every time a different kind of start for a building project.
Firstly we meet with the client most preferably physically, and readily at the very plot. We want to ensure that a firm basis is built right at the beginning in order to achieve a process where it’s straight-forward to proceed. After the meeting we prepare an analysis of the plot, it’s surroundings and different ways to approach the site. From the concreteness already visible in the visual analysis it is easiest to make the first decisions.
Our expertise on different kind of structural materials is strong. The resolution on the main load-bearing material on early hand is important because the features of the material define the prerequisites and possibilities of architecture. We have designed single family houses with solid construction both in massive wood (such as CLT, log etc) and in stone (poroton, siporex etc). To choose the best suitable option to the situation at hand, we willingly discuss and guide the client when deliberating between the alternatives.
We are skillful in also designing best possible solutions to more challenging plots. We see importance on giving a extra thought to design buildings that sit well to their surroundings and buildings that have a good flow between inside and outside spaces. A close relation to outdoor spaces is one of the most joyful perks of living in a single family house. In addition we think that quality of design of the yard increases the functionality and atmosphere of the indoor spaces too.
Site visit gives important information about the qualities of the location: cardinal directions, views, surrounding buildings, and heights of the plot all have an impact on the result.
The outlooks of the building changes and becomes more precise during the process, from first sketch to the final outcome. Villa Sivonen, HELST Architects 2018.
Interactive design process
We find a fluent communication between designer and a client to be the foremost important feature in successful process. Important premises for the functional and happy home is the life situation, values and preferences of the future dweller.
We arrange regular client meetings where it is possible to give feedback and clarify the path design is taking throughout the design process. To us smooth-running process means well organized schedules, clear communication and ongoing liaison. We want to make sure that we have the full ability to comprehend what kind of life the future house and home should invite in itself.
Good plans might include multiple even options where the choosing between them might rely only on values. For the base of decision making, we deliver always the predictable reasons and results and work willingly as a conversation partner.
As a support for the communication and especially decision-making, we always use and develop the most informative materials to base the conversation on. We deliver both the customary and easy to read drawings but also a 3d-model that represents the spatial features usually the most understandable way. The model is downloadable through a light app and with it client can move in the model that worked as an assistance to designer on the process.
In addition the life cycle assessment and estimated construction cost calculations are part of our established design work. We provide information and visualized calculation on both the material costs and the carbon emissions of the construction by our LASKE-tool. On a side of our regular practice as a design office, HELST developed a model based emission and cost calculation tool LASKE and among first ones in Finland, provides the greatly needed, comprehensive and important knowledge on the impacts of buildings as a part of main designer services.
The main designer services and applying for building permission
As a part of the commission, we take the full responsibility on conducting the process to the ideal end result. Communication to the local Building Control Services and negotiation with the city starts already after the plot analysis. We share the information and keep the client on track throughout the process.
When the plans are finished we participate on establishing the building permit application, take part on both starting meeting and final inspection. To the responsibilities of a main designer is included also taking care that the building commandments are fulfilled, and that specialized design with outher professionals create a whole purpose-built entity.
From the budget of building a single-family house, 2-3% is usually the amount to allocate to the services of an architect. If architect provides also more detailed construction drawings, 3-5% is more realistic amount. Amount of work is always rechecked on occasion.
The minimum extent of services of a main designer is a building design, drawings for building permit and the main designer’s responsibility on the project.
A massive wood consturcted single-family house in Vuosaari, Helsinki. HELST Architects 2019.