General Evaluation of 1st Phase

The competitors have produced five very different approaches to the task so far and the Jury has decided to move forward with two entries to participate in a second phase.  

All the entries were produced with thought and are of high professional level.  However, the first phase of the competition has revealed the qualities but also difficulties to fulfill all the given goals. Adjustments need to be made both architecturally and volumetrically to achieve optimum balance between feasibility, historical values, and high quality outdoor and indoor spaces. 

Some features in all the entries are the same: Asema-aukio has been left practically unbuilt consisting only of metro entrance pavilions, the open square and/or greenery. No other solutions have been tested. The relationship to Vltava building has unsurprisingly been problematic to the authors. Vltava has historical values, a dominant position on the square and is small compared to the new building volumes, which easily creates tension and has led to some awkward situations. Many entries lack fruitful dialogue and mutual respect in terms of their relation to Vltava building.  This needs further development.

The architectural expression of the entries varies from adaptive and subtle to a contrasting, stand out relationship to the surrounding. The jury feels both approaches are possible if the overall quality remains high and the attitude ambitious. The choice of materials can be diverse if they age with dignity. The building’s architectural identity during nighttime and the dark seasons haven’t been studied nor expressed clearly. Glazed facades can challenge the historical townscape with visual dominance.

Some entries have expanded their public realm solutions to the neighboring plots which is not possible unless it is to illustrate the surroundings and show prospects of neighboring plots as well.  Actual requirements of the competition must be met within the competition area. The jury appreciates high quality outdoor spaces where accessibility, light conditions and human scale should create comfortable conditions. An easily accessible ground level plan with its actively and widely radiating functions and inviting atmosphere is crucial as well. The possibility of free flow of people on the ground level is desirable.

The entries portray various commercial and functional concepts ranging from traditional office- and retail solutions to more innovative solutions that apply especially to upper floor functions. Some have succeeded in integrating Vltava into the functional concept. Street level functions and services relate well to surrounding pedestrian areas adding to the livability of the site in most cases. Some have suggested an underground access to the metro station. Best solutions have formed new integrated routes for pedestrians. This kind of approach creates synergy between buildings and pedestrian flows allowing for better services, meeting points and destinations from user point of view. Certain entries suggest spatial solutions and functions, such as largescale public spaces, that are a challenge from a technical and economical point of view.

As all the building volume has been located on one site, the Jury hopes to enable further development of the entries by reducing the target volume by a fourth and thus giving more freedom to the authors. This way the entries selected to participate in the second phase may achieve the level of quality required for this most distinguished plot in Finland. Emphasis needs to be on a feasible solution from an economic point of view. The target for the scope of above-ground construction has been reduced to 30,000 m2 of gross floor area in the second competition phase. The design team should strive to meet this target while taking into consideration the urban design constraints described in the design principles as a factor that may limit the scope of the design proposal.

The Jury has concluded that entries that have the most potential are Albero and Klyyga. Both entries selected to take part in the second phase of the competition have great qualities, but also require modifications to achieve a feasible and architecturally outstanding level.

June 15th, 2021
Eliel Panel of Judges

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