June 15, 2021

Architectural competition for Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio advances to the second phase

by siiri in Yleinen

Architectural competition for Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio advances to the second phase


The panel of judges has selected two entries into the architectural competition for Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio to be carried forward into the second phase of the competition. Citizens submitted thousands of comments about the competition, and these were taken into consideration when the decision was made. Target volume of the competition will be lowered. Albero and Klyyga addressed best the requirements set for the design area in the competition programme.

An architectural and conceptual design competition was arranged for the ideation phase preceding the local detailed planning of Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area. Five design groups were invited to submit proposals. The entrants included some of Finland’s top professionals, as well as internationally acclaimed designers.

When the proposals had been submitted for the first phase of the competition, a survey was conducted on the Voice your Opinion platform to enable citizens to comment on the designs. Thousands of comments were submitted, and they were taken into consideration in the decision-making process. The panel of judges evaluated the proposals in April and May and decided to advance to the second phase with two of the competition entries: Albero and Klyyga.

Among the most important criteria for evaluating the competition proposals were the quality of urban space, functionality and feasibility of the designs. The panel scrutinised the suitability of the designs for the valuable historical setting, the preconditions for a high-quality pedestrian environment, and the impact of the functional content on the vitality of the area.

Designs prepared with insight and top professional expertise

“The competitors produced five interesting and very different visions for the design of a unique area. Two proposals will be carried forward. All of the entries were prepared with insight and top professional expertise,” says Vesa Olkkola, Managing Director of Elielinaukion kehitys Oy.

The first phase of the competition revealed positive opportunities, as well as some challenges with regard to fulfilling the demanding criteria.

“Each of the proposals requires some alteration in terms of both the architecture and the scope in order to strike a balance between feasibility, historical values, and high-quality indoor and outdoor spaces,” Olkkola says. The panel takes the view that the proposals can be developed further by issuing specific guidelines for each proposal and reducing the volume targets set in the competition programme by a fourth so as to allow more freedom for the designs.

The competition also enabled construction in the Asema-aukio square. The designers behind all of the proposals envisaged Asema-aukio as a square, urban green space or area with only small-scale construction. Consequently, the target scope seemed challenging if new buildings were only constructed in Elielinaukio.

On the other hand, the competition clearly demonstrated the suitability of Elielinaukio for significant new construction while enabling the realisation of a high-quality, pleasant, pedestrian-oriented urban area that is rich in functionality.

Second phase to begin in August

The panel is currently preparing summaries of the improvements required for each proposal. The summaries will be presented to the competitors at the beginning of the second phase. In addition, the competition programme will be amended with respect to the scope of new construction in order to resolve the challenges in this area and to increase the amount of room for various design solutions. The volume target will be reduced.

Preparations for the second phase will begin immediately. The winner is expected to be announced in December.

Urban renewal project to create a more attractive meeting place and business centre

The project to renew the Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area is part of a wider effort to develop central Helsinki and the railway station area. The renewal project will reaffirm the city centre’s status as an attractive business centre, a significant employment area for Finland, and a place where people meet and spend time together. As a part of this development, the Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area and the forthcoming buildings will become a vibrant and lively part of the pedestrian centre with a diverse range of services. The options for improving the underground pedestrian connections will also be studied.

The competition is organised by Elielinaukion kehitys Oy together with the City of Helsinki. Elielinaukion kehitys Oy is controlled by the area’s property owners Ilmarinen, OP-Vuokratuotto, VR, SOK, Exilion and Evata Partners, a company specialising in real estate development and investment. The panel of judges consists of the competition organisers, an expert judge from the Finnish Association of Landscape Architects (MARK), and an international and local expert judge.

For the latest information about the competition, see the website uusieliel.fi, which will be updated as planning progresses.

Read more about the competition entries advancing to the second phase: Albero, Klyyga (in Finnish)
General Evaluation of 1st Phase

Further information about the competition:

Elielinaukion kehitys Oy
Vesa Olkkola
Managing Director
+358 40 544 23 21

Further information about town planning:

City of Helsinki
Perttu Pulkka
Senior Architect
+358 9 310 37465

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