Hot Heart Helsinki

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati used SpaceForm throughout the initial design phases for their winning solution to help decarbonise Helsinki's heating network

Client: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

Location: Helsinki, Finland 

Sector: Built environment - architecture

Collaborators: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Ramboll, Transsolar, Danfoss Leanheat, Schneider Electric, OP Financial Group, schlaich bergermann partner, Squint/Opera


In 2021, CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati’s Hot Heart project was one of four winners of the global Helsinki Energy Challenge, with a proposal to create island-like, floating sea water reservoirs to heat the city in a green way. The competition was launched to find sustainable alternatives for urban heating networks, using Helsinki as a testbed. 

Located off the coast of Helsinki, Hot Heart will be the largest infrastructural facility of its kind. The project consists of a set of 10 cylindrical basins, each measuring 225 metres in diameter. They collectively can hold up to 10 million cubic metres of water. The system functions like a giant thermal battery: low- or negative-cost renewable energy is converted into heat, stored in the tanks, and withdrawn into the city’s heat distribution channels during the winter.


CRA came to SpaceForm with the need for a new, creative way to communicate their complex competition-winning designs to the City of Helsinki in an easy to use and simple way, during the initial design phases of the project. SpaceForm powers immersive collaboration, presentations and meetings, through multi-user 3D technology - connecting CRA to key stakeholders, collaborators and partners in the metaverse. SpaceForm offered a solution to CRA to improve and speed up the design of this unusual project by immersing groups together in the same virtual space to experience design together, therefore reducing inefficiencies and speeding up decision making.


CRA have been working in collaboration with SpaceForm’s revolutionary, data-driven virtual design platform, to virtually communicate their competition-winning designs. 

CRA uses Rhino 3D to design and Twinmotion, Epic Games’ real-time visualisation platform to create stills and video. All of these integrate rapidly with SpaceForm to create an immerse virtual twin of the project. On such an experimental and technology driven project, it was vital when presenting and reviewing the concept with the client and other collaborators. Being able to assess the quality of spaces, at different times of day and seasons alongside the technical background to the project created a unique way to explore and understand the project. 

Jan Maarten Heuff, CEO and Co-Founder of SpaceForm, said:

“SpaceForm creates an environment where the collaborating teams can see, feel and sense an idea in 3D before it goes to the next stage. No other medium to date can do this and it will completely change the way we design, review and communicate projects in the built environment. Working with CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati on this incredible project has been a great way to show a close collaborator how effective and efficient this platform can be.”

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