Sophie Mannerheim School for Special Needs Children

The building is an accessible facility on three floors. Among other things, the school has a 300 m2 gym and improved sound insulation.

Sibeliuksenkatu 16 | 00260 Helsinki

> Area: 3,454 m2, accessible spaces on three floors
> Delivery time: 5 months (Jan‒May 2019)

The Sophie Mannerheim school for special needs children was completed in the protected Kivelä hospital area in May 2019. The special school, which provides teaching in many locations, had old premises that were found to be unsuitable for teaching purposes. The school needed new facilities that would be a safe distance from the Meilahti hospital area.

Our building technology, based on Fixcel’s patented steel cells, includes the possibility to modify the building according to the need by adding or removing modules. The steel frame building also has incredibly clean indoor air, as the steel is not a good habitat for mould or microbiota.


The Sophie Mannerheim special school provides education for children with various learning disabilities, including ones that are psychological or neurological. The special needs of the children were considered in the design of the school building and the users were involved in the design process through regular user meetings.

The requirements of the special school were considered in the building solutions with, for example, better-than-usual sound insulation and dampening, as well as spacious rooms that enable easy mobility.

Healthy and clean indoor air was ensured with the steel cell structure and Fixcel’s standardised building and interior materials. All materials have been tested individually and collectively to determine possible effects on indoor air.

The school building has three entrances and contains general and subject-specific classrooms such as for handcrafts, home economics, music, as well as physics and chemistry laboratory classrooms. In addition, the building has a dining hall, a library and a 300 square metre gym.


The Sophie Mannerheim School for Special Needs Children has been operating in its new premises for four years and the user experience of the building has been positive.

“Our main wishes were clean indoor air and facilities that are suitable for children with special needs. We didn’t have a gym, ballroom or a courtyard before, so they were important to us too. The special needs of the children were also taken into account. The new school is very roomy and the facilities are very customisable according to our changing needs,” says the school’s principal, Marja-Liisa Autio.

The students have welcomed the new school building.

“When our kids first got into the building, they wondered if it was really for them. It was very moving, as they were already used to all kinds of premises. They also noticed right away that the air was very fresh here,” Autio smiles.

“The building was completed very quickly. The first tractor came on site in March 2019 and on 13 May we were able to move in. The old building had to be demolished first, so it would have been possible to complete even faster. The building has been excellent for our needs, the windows are huge with good sound insulation, and it’s very bright everywhere,” Autio sums up.