The government of the United States is opening a USD 125 million building, named the Innovation Center, in its embassy compound in Helsinki. According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Finland, the space is a one-of-a-kind tool to enhance trade and investment between the United States and Europe at the center of the rapidly developing Northern European market,
“The project is a strong statement about the strength of US-Finnish relations, bolstering our already strong relationship by providing a regional platform to network, make connections and conduct business,” says Ambassador Bruce Oreck. The grand opening of the Innovation Center is scheduled for February 26.
Inspiring meeting place
The Innovation Center has been designed as a place to talk about the cutting edge in a beautiful, environmentally friendly setting. Besides hosting the offices of its personnel, the soaring glass building will be the embassy’s primary location for meetings, information sharing, press availability and cultural programming.
“We want companies to feel that the Innovation Center is an easy extension of their own offices, where they can convene competitions, exhibitions, and meet partners,” says Oreck. The Embassy also looks to partner with businesses on social issues, through the companies’ corporate social responsibility activities.
Energy efficient solutions
The building is extremely energy efficient, showcasing American and Finnish cleantech solutions. LED and OLED lighting technology has been used throughout. It is also the first embassy in the world to use district cooling and heating and is on track to become the first embassy worldwide to receive LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council.
The word “regional” figures often and strongly, as the ambassador and embassy spokespeople describe their ambitious undertaking. They refer to Finland’s location and growing clout at the center of 80 million consumers. The highly sophisticated and well-functioning Finnish market is, indeed, a beneficiary of its 800-mile border with new WTO member Russia, the drive in the nearby Baltic countries, the established Scandinavian markets, and the rapidly developing business opportunities in the Arctic.