Development by ALA Architects in Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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Tropaion Helsinki

The planning of a new 100 000 m2 residential area in downtown Helsinki has been proceeding well with the city planning authorities. The site is an old industrial peninsula 3 kilometers from the Helsinki city centre. It was previously occupied by a coal-fired power plant. An invited design competition was organized by the city of Helsinki to produce a design for this challenging site. ALA was selected as the winner in march 2007. The site is very much part of the inner city of Helsinki and accessible by tram and other public transport as well as light traffic routes.

The scheme, called “Tropaion”, consists of five perimeter blocks of varying heights covered with roof terraces of the upper apartments. The blocks form a gigantic bowl shape with crossing sea views from all terraces and a sense of community and togetherness for the people. The courtyards will form semi-private spaces, which the residents of Helsinki are very fond of, and public streets with shops and services at street level. Building heights vary from 16 floors down to two, with varying housing typologies and apartments sizes included in the same blocks.

Since then the area design as well as the building design has been taken further in collaboration with experts. The process has been rewarding and proceeded on time. Currently the regulation plan is being commented by the city planning authorities. The regulation plan will be very strict, outlining the size and shape of the housing blocks to exact detail. The realization has postponed slightly due to the problems the previous user, Helsinki Energy, has with emptying the property. After that the construction of the first building will begin, approximately year 2010. The architectural details will be developed further when individual building design starts, but it is already safe to say that this striking design will be implemented as proposed. This will introduce a whole new typology to the Finnish housing market and create an unique, dense and urban area with a lot of character -something there seems to be a big demand for in the heavily standardized housing market.

Tropaion images © ALA Architects ltd.

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