TOAS Hippos

TOAS Hippos is the airy, vibrant, and urban student housing complex of the future. Located in the Kaleva area of Tampere, it offers a variety of housing options and services with a sense of community.

Text: TOAS and Puuinfo Photos: Arkkitehtitoimisto Helamaa & Heiskanen Oy

Read the article in Finnish: TOAS Hippos

TOAS Hippos is the airy, vibrant, and urban student housing complex of the future. Located in the Kaleva area of Tampere, it is the largest new construction project in the history of the Tampere student housing foundation. The complex was designed by the architectural firm Helamaa & Heiskanen, who proposed an underlying theme of environmentally aware construction with plenty of wood and versatile spaces. The outer wall is uniform and sculpturesque, opening up towards the south where the inner courtyard has been given a softer feel with more wood, balconies, terraces and views of the park. The building is higher in the middle and lower towards the sides, which somewhat disguises the number of storeys. The curved shape is intentional: it provides peace and quiet by keeping the noise and dust of Teiskontie street at bay.

According to a survey conducted for the project, students valued the possibility of combining studying with comfortable living. TOAS Hippos uses a hybrid layout where the shared spaces are organised into functional groups. The laundry, coworking area, saunas, bike workshop, sewing room, gym, and music room are free to use for all residents. In addition, the complex includes a grocery store, a restaurant, other businesses, and some office space. A daycare centre will be built separately in the final construction phase.

The apartments and balconies are made of wooden elements, and the frame is CLT panel. The stairwells, elevator shafts and corridors are also wood on the residential floors, and the amount of visible wood has been maximized.

The Covid pandemic added its own surprises to the mix by raising the prices of construction raw materials and decreasing availability. This resulted in new cost calculations and some changes to earlier plans. Finding wood element suppliers was also a challenge.

The project started in 2019 with an alliance competition, in which Hartela Pirkanmaa Oy, Granlund Oy and A-insinöörit Oy were selected to join the architectural firm Helamaa & Heiskanen.

Through the now defunct Elementti-Sampo, a subcontractor during Hippos’ development phase, the project was part of the national Productivity Leap, which explored the possibilities for increasing the productivity of industrial wood construction. The project succeeded in its improvement efforts by developing wooden firewalls and by equipping modules with shafts for building technology. After Elementti-Sampo’s bankruptcy, the Estonian-Finnish Matek Modules Oy was chosen as the wooden components supplier.

Construction of the complex began in September 2022 and will continue in four phases over a period of 4 to 5 years.


  • Location | Tampere
  • Purpose | Student housing
  • Developer/Client  | TOAS
  • Architectural design  | Arkkitehtitoimisto Helamaa & Heiskanen Oy
  • Structural design | A-insinöörit
  • Main contractor  | Hartela Pirkanmaa Oy
  • Wood component supplier | Matek Modules Oy
  • Year completed | 2024–2027