The ongoing renovation and new construction of Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium is the largest project ever undertaken by Doka Finland. After several years, the work is nearing completion and the Grand Opening of the new stadium is scheduled for autumn 2020.
For Finns, Helsinki Olympic Stadium is not just any arena for sports and culture; it has a much greater significance. The stadium was completed in 1938 and its intention was to be the arena for the 1940 Olympics. However, the global situation was undergoing change and after finally surviving the war, Finland hosted the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952.
If the walls of the Olympic Stadium could speak, they would certainly have many stories to tell. Whether you are a passionate sports fan or concert lover, you have probably enjoyed your own Olympic Stadium moment. Indeed, Finns often discuss their personal memories of the Olympic Stadium over coffee. It is not at all wrong to say that for Finns the stadium is bigger than its physical walls.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with is walls, as the building also has great architectural significance. The Tower – originally constructed for marathon runners to find the finish line – has formed an integral part of Helsinki’s silhouette from the day it was erected, and the Olympic Stadium is otherwise regarded as being a ground-breaking example of functionalism. It is also worth remembering that the organisation responsible for the construction is the very same organisation handling the current facelift.
A closer examination of the history of the Stadium surprisingly reveals that buildings in Finland with less cultural value have been protected, while a protection order for the Olympic Stadium was issued only in
2006. Previously, it would have been possible to repeat what happened in London, where Wembley Stadium, a local shrine to the Olympic Games and soccer, was demolished to make way for a new stadium.
The renovation that started in 2016 and is scheduled for completion in 2020 is the largest restoration project in the history of the Olympic Stadium. In practice, everything possible is being renewed, but taking care to ensure that all protection order conditions are met. For example, all the spectator stands will be brand new, and even the grass for the event area was done by professionals.
Going beneath the surface of the Olympic Stadium, there is plenty that has been renewed. Massive castings with Doka formwork has been focused on new structures, such as gyms and the logistics centre. The modern infrastructure makes the Olympic Stadium a place that can be used on a daily basis. Just like the exercise centre, the gyms serve sportspersons and amateurs alike, while the new restaurant premises are adaptable to accommodate various events, and the logistics centre facilitates concert preparations for megastars.
Renewal of the stadium has also been an enormous task for Doka Finland. Massive castings has been conducted on the basement floors, so the Doka formwork has been used in places that are not that evident. It should also be emphasised that a building like the Stadium is not just any kind of highrise building, rather a unique entirety, so a great deal of effort has also been put into designing. For the very first time in the history of Doka Finland, our own designers were working at the stadium construction site on a daily basis during the initial stages of the project. This facilitated the flexible travel of information between Skanska and Doka.
The size of the construction site is also something quite exceptional. Placing the wooden beams used at the site end-to-end would cover a total distance exceeding a hundred kilometres. Similarly, the total area covered by wall forms would be enough to cover two entire football pitches.
In order to support all these structures, a total of 13,000 Staxo 100 frames and over 10,000 arch supports were used. Additionally, an enormous range of different machinery was used. In the main, the Framax Xlife wall formworks are utilised, but special surfaces have also required use of the Top 50 formworks that were assembled at the construction site. It is worth noting that our formworks, as well as our versatile and comprehensive supports, met all of our client’s needs.
It is no exaggeration to claim that the Olympic Stadium’s construction site is an impressive showcase for the Doka product portfolio. No problems emerged that could not be resolved with the client. Indeed, the Helsinki Olympic Stadium contract has been a milestone beyond compare. It has really put all our activities to the test, from the sufficiency of formwork to the reliability of deliveries. Nevertheless, we can say that we successfully rose to the challenge.
Working for Doka, we can now all be proud of the renewal of the Olympic Stadium when it is opened to the public in autumn 2020.
Original year of construction
Toivo Jäntti and Yrjö Lindegren
Spectator capacity (current)
36,000 (record number of spectators for the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 1952, with extra spectator stands constructed from wood: 70,435)