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Helsinki to launch international competition for major downtown re-development

The area to be redeveloped is a buzzing transport hub in the heart of the city.

Julia Kivelä / City of Helsinki

The City of Helsinki has announced an architectural competition for the re-development of two squares in the vicinity of Helsinki Central Station, Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio.

The squares are to be re-developed into a “modern, pleasant and vibrant” part of the pedestrian city centre consisting primarily of commercial and cultural premises. The architectural solutions should take into account the special characteristics and valuable environment of the area while offering high-quality solutions to locals and commuters alike.

The area should also become safer, more attractive and more functional especially from the viewpoint of pedestrians and cyclists, according to the Finnish capital.

An aerial view of Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio in downtown Helsinki. Image: Miikka Ruohonen / Lentokuva Vallas

The project is the only major re-development in the inner city that is expected to create much-needed jobs in the city centre that can be accessed easily with public transport from other parts of Greater Helsinki.

Part of a larger project to develop the entire area surrounding Helsinki Central Station, the architectural competition is scheduled to start in November. Five planning groups have been invited to participate in the competition based on not only their experience and references, but also their balance of domestic and international expertise.

The triumphant submission is to be announced in the second quarter of next year and used as the basis for preparing a revision of the area’s local detailed plan.

A draft of the area’s planning principles and assessment and participation plan will be on public display on the website of Helsinki between 24 August and 11 September. The competition submissions and progress can be followed on neweliel.fi.

By: Aleksi Teivainen