Location: Helsinki, Finland
Program: Housing, offices, retails and culture
Size: 1,300,000 sf
Team: Haiko Cornelissen with Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans
Concept for developing the South Harbour into a dynamic part of the city is to maximize waterfront access by moving all ferries into one terminal at the harbor edge and insert the new waterfront with a diverse mix of public programs.
Key to developing the South Harbour of Helsinki is a unified, publicly accessible waterfront. Extensive research on vibrant city waterfronts shows that one critical key to success is public accessibility. Today, the inhabitants and tourists of Helsinki are blocked from 90% of the Helsinki South Harbour waterfront due to the terminals scattered throughout the harbour. Therefore, successful development of the Helsinki South Harbour requires a thorough reorganization to maximize public accessibility. We propose to merge into one location the various terminals which are currently spread along the harbour front. Then, in keeping with the long tradition of land reclamation in Helsinki, we have designed another extension of the waterfront. Our exceedingly efficient terminal building accommodates six car and passenger ships plus two cruise ships, making the rest of the waterfront fully available for public use.
Another important ingredient in successful waterfront development is multiple destinations for a variety of people in various times of the year. We have therefore carefully arranged a diverse array of programs along the waterfront. These programs are divided in two branches: urban and natural. The two branches connect to the existing qualities of Helsinki, which are stretched and merged into the waterfront. The ‘urban’ branch is a continuation of the Esplenade and contains large scale buildings that function as independent destinations, such as a museum and shopping mall. The urban branch ends at the terminal building, which has a publicly accessible roof and shops that take advantage of the panoramic view of the Helsinki city center.
The natural branch is a continuation of the beautiful Tahtitonini vuori park and contains functions that are performed in nature, such as sports and fishing.
Our proposal is a gradual transition from a very urban condition with large scale buildings far from the water, to a natural landscape with small scale bars and cafés where you can easily access the water. Following this logic, the market is an intermediate condition where an urban density of people functions in an outdoor setting.
In short, we feel that the enormous potential of the South Harbour waterfront is inhibited by one significant problem: the terminals. For such a seemingly intractable problem, only a radical solution can yield the desired results. By consolidating the terminals into one efficient location, a robust, unified, publicly accessible waterfront will develop into a dynamic new part of Helsinki.