High-tech company Bittium Corporation specialises in the development of secure communications and connectivity solutions. Bittium is domiciled in Oulu, where its new head office was completed in autumn 2017.
The new head office construction project got underway in 2015 by exploring the various options available. One of the six options was to remain in and renovate the existing premises at the time in Oulu Technology Village. In the end it was decided to construct a new office building on Ritaharjuntie road in the Technology Village. This would make it easier to achieve the objectives Bittium had set for the building. The aim was for premises to foster a culture of doing things and support Bittium’s operations.
“Modifiability of the interior was one of the key criteria because team size varies depending on the project stages. We need to divide and combine premises whenever necessary. Teams need to be together, but separate from teams working on other customer accounts,” explains Jari-Pekka Innanen, Vice President Engineering at Bittium.
Jari-Pekka Innanen represented the customer in the construction project and ensured that the building was exactly what was required.
Building reflects product security
Because Bittium produces secure products and services, its premises are subject to particularly tight security, Bittium’s customers include Finnish and international companies such as GE Healthcare and the Finnish and Estonian defence forces. The building complies with strict access control and data security to ensure continued customer confidence and that data remains secure.
“Effective data security has been addressed by, for example, preventing wireless diffused radiation (data) and sound conduction. The building meets the high level of security required by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority. This is why much more effort went into its design than would be the case for a normal office building. Similarly, M&E solutions were also a particular focus,” says Jari-Pekka Innanen.
Façade became a security device
Ruukki’s steel profile was used in the façade of the building, which also serves as a business card and image booster. Besides that, the façade of Bittium’s head office also has a security function. The steel façade deflects diffused radiation, which means among other things that it prevents the unauthorised monitoring of mobile phones. In other words, the steel façade works a bit like a Faraday cage, which considerably attenuates the inflow and outflow “radiation” of data.
“In the old premises, protection was built of steel in the interior of the building. The façade now gives added protection and in a way serves as a data security device. The perforated double façade also blocks visual spying by drones, for example,” says Jari-Pekka Innanen.
Building reflects corporate image
Bittium did not want a head office that stood out too much. Choice of the façade was the result of joint design by Bittium, the architect and the building company. Likewise in the building interior, the company favoured simple Nordic interior design rather than hype.
“Design was based on the company’s brand. Our work was based on making Trust, Nordic and Connectivity part of the building’s identity,” says architect Johan Lindfors of the architect office Kanttia2.
Johan Lindfors was the lead designer of the new head office and was assisted by five other designers at the Kanttia2.
Lindfors says that one of the aspects taken into account in the building’s façade was how passers-by would be able to observe it. Facing towards the west, the façade on the motorway side is less detailed, which makes it recognisable faster as a whole. On the yard side, however, the façade is more detailed since people confront it when walking from the parking lot to reception.
Johan Lindfors thinks steel makes a good façade.
“Steel can create neat, large sections. An advantage of steel profiles is that if you need to modify the façade, even the windows, you can do it much easier with steel profiles than with rival products.”
Work kept design in check
Jari-Pekka Innanen’s most important job during the building design stage was to find out the kind of workplace Bittium’s employees needed and wanted. The premises worked well since Bittium’s employees had helped to guide design. A list was made of all functions, technologies and needs before work started on design. This list was made about a year before the building was completed. An example of IT needs, for example, was that the building should have more than 3,000 LAN or fixed network access points.
The laboratories are located on one floor in the new building. This results in savings in heating and heat recovery and enables more effective use of measuring equipment. The building also serves as Bittium’s building automation laboratory. The building itself generates data and linking these data to the devices and systems that Bittium develops creates an excellent product development platform and system which can be processed and integrated into artificial intelligence to help in developing products destined for customers.
“We had the main responsibility for building design. Our own competence was highlighted since the office building is atypical. All our investments in security and effectiveness are reflected in customer confidence,” says Jari-Pekka Innanen.
Architect Johan Lindfors says that the building’s shape and arrangement of the functions align with the company’s brand and the theme of connectivity. The building has two wings, with an intersecting space in the middle. The break areas were placed at meeting points along natural access routes, the areas intersecting them, where employees can also meet people from outside their own teams.
Johan Lindfors is pleased that they were commissioned to design Bittium’s head office since it has brought them valuable experience.
“This has been a real treat. It’s not often you get to design a head office for a listed company. It was also great to be near the end-user and to gain an insight into their business processes,” enthuses Johan Lindfors.
Jari-Pekka Innanen from Bittium emphasises the importance of people and work in design.
“This was a successful construction project and the result of listening closely and careful study. The building has increased interest in Bittium. When we recruit, many candidates exclaim “you’ve got a really fine new head office”. The building has also become an asset in recruitment.”
Design profile Tokyo S18, perforated and non-perforated
Headquartered in Oulu, Bittium Corporation is a Finnish company specialising in the development of secure communications and connectivity solutions. Besides its own products, Bittium provides customers with various product and system solutions and design services. The company employs more than 500 people in four different countries.
Bittium specialises in the development of reliable, secure communications and connectivity solutions leveraging its 30 year legacy of expertise in advanced radio communication technologies. Bittium provides innovative products and services, customized solutions based on its product platforms and R&D services. Complementing its communications and connectivity solutions, Bittium offers proven information security solutions for mobile devices and portable computers. Bittium also provides healthcare technology products and services for biosignal measuring in the areas of cardiology, neurology, rehabilitation, occupational health and sports medicine.
Perforated façade required no extra work
NCC was responsible for Bittium’s head office construction project and Oulun Pelti for façade installation and insulation.
Oulun Pelti, which was responsible for the installation project, and insulation project manager Matti Pulkkanen point out that even though Ruukki’s steel products were perforated, installation required no extra effort from the installation firm. Ruukki provided the installation instructions, delivery times were flexible and haulage firms announced their arrivals in good time. He is also very pleased with Ruukki’s deliveries. Matti Pulkkanen would like to see more attention paid to building façades.