The Äänekoski Healthcare Centre

Äänekoski Healthcare Centre

The Äänekoski Healthcare Centre showcases the values of the reformed Finnish social and healthcare services.

Located in Central Finland, the new Äänekoski Healthcare Centre provides versatile health and social welfare services to the surrounding 40,000 locals. Äänekoski is the first completely new healthcare centre that characterises the remodelled public healthcare and social services in Finland.

This extremely modernised and customer-centric centre represents a benchmark for transforming public wellbeing services. The centre provides services spanning the whole human lifecycle – primary healthcare, laboratory and imaging services, maternity care, occupational health services and dental care, advisory services and psychiatric care along with substance abuse services.

Creating a new model for healthcare services

The project started with assessing the current healthcare service structure, organisational solutions, resource allocation and productivity. After analysing data and close cooperation with the healthcare services, designers remodelled the key service processes and operation procedures.

The work resulted in a new service model that segments patients according to the urgency and continuity of treatment. The model helps ensure the availability of services for every local resident based on their distinctive healthcare needs.

The service model also includes an incentive program that rewards both the staff and city for the savings created by the increased productivity. As part of the assessment and service model design, designers established solutions for integrating different healthcare services.

Maximizing the healing powers of natural light and motion

The focal point of the centre is the glass-roofed atrium. It offers facilities such as an exercising trail with different surface materials and sloping pathways for rehabilitation and outdoor activities.

This unique rehabilitation yard also lets in a vast amount of natural light. In conjunction with huge glass walls, the centre is flooded with light from all angles.

User-friendly functionality with a local twist

Healthcare and social services professionals have been intensively involved in designing and deciding useability solutions. Using 3D modelling and VR, designers and health professionals have pretested the design solutions and adjusted the functionalities and locations according to actual use cases.

Focus on useability can be seen, for example, in the number and location of elevators, the automatically sliding doors in every patient room or in the use of automated storage capacity. Local landscapes and monuments are present in interior materials such privacy-shielding tapings, displaying themes such as the surrounding nature and forest industry.

Every solution has a purpose – for example, inner glass walls taped with local sceneries provide privacy but at the same time, let in the light and enhance wellbeing. Five-metre-wide aisles furnished with sofas and tables for social interaction encourage patients to get out of bed.

Sustainable solutions for the future

The Äänekoski Healthcare Centre is designed and constructed according to the principles of a Healthy Built Environment. The building is healthy and sound in its structural, technical, and interior solutions. The centre consists only of tried and tested components. Functionalities are innovative but no unnecessary risks have been taken with the fundamental structures.

Despite vast glass surfaces, the building is still very energy-efficient with its 50-metre-deep frame. A lot of attention has been paid to indoor air quality, and solutions have been carefully selected considering the whole lifecycle of the building.

The Äänekoski Healthcare Centre

Project in numbers:

  • located in Central Finland, approximately 300 km from Helsinki
  • client City of Äänekoski
  • completed in 2014
  • project size 15,500 m2
  • includes 40 beds, reception, emergency and primary healthcare, dental care,
  • psychiatric care, occupational health services, maternity care, rehabilitation, advisory services, substance abuse services
  • budget €30M

IHDA partners working together in the Äänekoski Healthcare Centre project:

  • Nordic Healthcare Group – Data analysis, service model creation, service integration
  • AW2 Architects – Architectural design

Reforming Finnish public healthcare and social welfare services

In Finland, public healthcare and social services include, for example, primary and specialised healthcare, hospital services, dental care, maternity and child health clinics, rehabilitation as well as mental health and substance abuse services.

Residents must have equal accessibility to public healthcare and social services, no matter where in Finland they live. Also, the aging population increases the need for healthcare and social services, which in turn means that the growing costs must be cut back.
In a historically substantial administrative reform, services previously organised by hundreds of municipalities – big and small alike – were centralised to 21 wellbeing services counties from January 1, 2023 onwards.

Healthcare and social services in these counties are situated according to local requirements – as ideally as possible for easy access. Local centres providing social services and healthcare play a key role in the reform, functioning as hubs combining an extensive scope of healthcare and social welfare services to best serve the needs of the communities. Improved digital services help provide effective and flexible care, benefiting both patients and healthcare professionals.

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health –, Wellbeing services counties
Official website of the reform –


Matti Anttila 
Principal designer, AW2 Architects  
+358 40 861 3740 

Jukka Vasara
Vice President, Granlund Group  
+358 50 067 5654 

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