Successful competition allows city to plan revitalization and pedestrianization of historic downtown with 11 private firms

On June 30, 2021 in Helsinki, Finland, the city’s two-phase quality and concept competition to redevelop Makasiiniranta—the last old harbor area to be transformed for public use—entered the first planning phase with 11 partners that have been approved to develop and submit plans by December 2021.

The competition, which launched in May 2021, is intended for both Finnish and international operators, or consortia of operators, in the construction and real estate industry. This is a challenging and high-quality construction project along the western shore of Helsinki’s South Harbour, bay so each entry must have the technical, financial and other prerequisites to design.

The designated development area of over 83,000 sq. meters of waterfront land is to become a culturally-intensive hub surrounding the new site of the design and architecture museum, which will merge the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum.

The competition has generated interest both domestically and internationally. Of the 19 competition applications received, 11 groups have met the competitor eligibility requirements. Finland’s largest and most esteemed practices will be participating, as well as a number of well-known international offices in the architecture field.

We are pleased that the competition has attracted so much interest. The participating consortia are very knowledgeable and I believe we will receive high quality and diverse competition proposals. The location is a valuable business card for Helsinki, so our expectations regarding the quality of public space, for example, are very high,” says Mikko Aho, Head of the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division.

By the end of 2021, the competitors are expected to submit an overall plan, detailing the expansion of the city centre, along with its services to Makasiiniranta.

The Makasiiniranta area is to become part of the pedestrianized city centre and seaside trail around the shores of Helsinki, and as a location for the new Architecture and Design Museum.

The competition proposals will be made available to the public for comment in late 2021.

The proposals will be submitted under pseudonyms and put on public display in December, following the end of the first phase of the competition. The public can then comment on the proposals and share ideas for further development through the Kerro kantasi (Voice your opinion) service. The feedback received will be utilised in the evaluation of the entries.

A multidisciplinary evaluation jury consisting of governmental representatives and impartial design experts will evaluate each of the plans and shortlist four final entries to progress to the second phase of the competition in February–March 2022.

The evaluation process will pay special attention to the cityscape-related quality of the plans, the functionality and feasibility of the concept, the quality of the pedestrian environment and the urban space, solutions that promote the implementation of the Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035 programme, and how the new Architecture and Design Museum, the Old Market Hall and the harbour buildings are taken into consideration.

The four shortlisted competitors will compile more detailed proposals by the end of June 2022. These entries will also be put on public display and made available for public commenting via the Kerro kantasi service in the second phase.

Results of the competition will be announced in autumn 2022, and the winning group will continue planning the area as partnership planning in collaboration with the City. The competition winner will be appointed to implement the plans as submitted within the competition for Makasiiniranta. Later, the City Council will decide on the implementation agreement and approving the detailed plan created for the area.

The 11 design groups accepted into the competition are:

  • Foster + Partners, Maanlumo and Ramboll with Hines Nordics
  • HGR Property Partners, PES-Architects, VSU, A-insinöörit
  • Konsortium Gran, K2S Architecs, White Arkitekter, Ramboll, HTJ
  • Merellinen Helsinki 2030, JKMM, Loci, Ramboll
  • NCC Property Development Oy ja NCC Suomi Oy (NCC, Arkkitehdit Soini & Horto, AOR Arkkitehdit, MASU Planning, Destia, Ramboll Finland, Salsa Concept)
  • Skanska CDF Oy ja Skanska Talonrakennus Oy (Skanska Talonrakennus, Arkkitehtitoimisto ALA, SLA S/A, Sitowise
  • South Harbour (NREP, SRV, Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit, Nomaji maisema-arkkitehdit, Sitowise)

In addition to this, the following parties were accepted into the competition on a conditional basis (the applications require specifications):

  • AALTO Development, Shigeru Ban Architects, LMA, VSU, Sitowise
  • Elävä Eteläsatama, Arkkitehdit Tommila, A-insinöörit, VSU
  • Kuryłowicz & Associates, Hill International, RS Landscape Architecture, CTD
  • Maestro Design & Management, arkitektur+ development, Sweco Arkitekter, Rolf Lundgren

Photo courtesy of the City of Helsinki.

Follow the progress of the competition and redevelopment.

You must be logged in to post a comment