The national railway company VR’s administrative building, originally designed by Eliel Saarinen and finished in 1909, was transformed into a hotel for the Scandic hotel chain. For almost 100 years the building served as the main office for railway administration and it is a solid part of the Helsinki railway station. It bears significant historical and cultural legacy which makes it an essential part of the cityscape. This set an exceptionally high standard for design. The building is protected by the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage and the construction was done in close cooperation with the Finnish Heritage Agency.
Scandic Grand Central Helsinki is one of the biggest hotels in Finland. In 2017 Futudesign won a design competition and their plan was used in the building’s new extension. AS&H was the principal designer for the extension. The hotel has almost 500 rooms, of which nearly 10 % are accessible for disabled people. The rooms are located in the administrative building among protected corridors. The room size differs on different floors due to the old wall structures and protected corridor doors. The breakfast, bar and restaurant area has several hundred seats as well as the ballroom, which can be divided into smaller event spaces. Puroplan Oy was responsible for the interior design. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the official hotel opening was in April 2021.