From student idea to communal housing concept - people queuing for StudioHomes since last year

16 June 2017

The queue for the 68-unit SATO StudioHome pilot building that will be completed in Vantaa later this year has been lining up since last year. The home renting will kick off in earnest in August. SATO is looking for residents with strong motivation to take part in brainstorming ideas for housing and communal activities in the building. Spaciousness for the mini-sized one-bedroom apartments has been achieved not only with a new approach to design but also with a focus on communal areas.

The idea of communal housing that was first voiced at an innovation camp for general upper secondary school students is about to become reality in the Martinlaakso district of Vantaa. SATO's first StudioHome of 68 units will be completed towards the end of the year and the new residents will be moving into their StudioHomes before Christmas.

According to SATO President and CEO Saku Sipola, the StudioHomes came into being in response to the need for affordable and community-oriented housing solutions.

 "Clever design has resulted in homes that seem markedly more spacious than their floor area would indicate. The sleeping and living areas have been clearly separated. Despite the official floor area being small, in terms of function the homes are one-bedroom units. The skilfully designed communal areas along with a residential base who we hope will create a good housing concept let all residents have access to living spaces outside their own apartments, Sipola says.

Personal living space can be significantly increased simply by opening the front door in the StudioHomes. The ground floor of the building houses a laundry room as well as a large communal lounge doing double duty as a coffee shop and shared living room for the residents while the top floor features a spacious terrace, sauna and lounge with fireplace. The StudioHome communal areas allow neighbours to interact, thus creating the foundation for shared activities.

Risk paid off

Monica Aro, Vice President, Development at SATO says that SATO clearly took a calculated business risk in launching this innovative communal housing project.

"I am happy to report that the risk has already paid off. We have been contacted by dozens of customers interested in renting these homes," she says.

The residents envisioned for the StudioHomes are people who are interested in contributing to a sense of community and extending their living space beyond their own walls. Respect for the wishes and privacy of each resident is still a paramount consideration in building this new housing concept.

"The idea of what makes a home is changing and we hope to find for our pilot building residents who want to be part of this change. A variety of tools are in place in the StudioHomes to encourage and guide the residents towards communality and interaction. Of course, it is ultimately up to each resident to decide for themselves the extent to which they wish to become involved in communal activities," Aro notes.

Pilot project provides direction for affordable and different housing innovations

Housing production in Finland is reaching record levels at present. Demand is high for affordable homes situated in growth centres. The StudioHome building in Vantaa also represents experimentation with a new kind of affordable housing concept that makes the most of the floor area within the home and also expands living spaces to the communal areas.

"Finland needs a broader range of housing options because the needs and wishes of people vary from one to the other and are constantly evolving in step with urbanisation. StudioHome is a response to one set of needs that puts a premium on a sense of community, new kinds of homes and affordable monthly rent. We have other reasonably priced and comfortable housing concepts in the pipeline as well," Sipola points out.

"Of course we are hoping that StudioHome will provide a hub for communal housing ideas and concepts that at the next stage will benefit our customers elsewhere as well.

StudioHome in brief:

  • StudioHome had its inception in the ideas generated within the SATO innovation team and the SATO JuniorHome project for upper secondary school students, in which the notions of community and living space expansion beyond one's own walls rose front and centre.
  • The pilot building rising on Raikukuja street in the Vantaa district of Martinlaakso under exceptional planning permission contains a total of 68 homes. The homes have an official floor area of 15.5 square metres. This is augmented by a sleeping loft of 6.3 square metres, which in terms of function make the homes one-bedroom units. The monthly rent is €500 + water charge.
  • The two-stage application process will kick off in August 2017 and the residents will be able to move into their new homes before Christmas.

More information:
Monica Aro, Vice President, Development, phone 0201 34 4006 or 0400 458 309,