Hanasaari residential area

The scheme, called “Tropaion”, consists of five perimeter blocks of varying heights covered with roof terraces of the upper apartments. The blocks form a gigantic bowl shape with crossing sea views from all terraces and a sense of community and togetherness for the people.

The courtyards will form semi-private spaces, which the residents of Helsinki are very fond of, and public streets with shops and services on street level. Building heights vary from 16 floors down to two, with varying housing typologies and apartment sizes included in the same block.

The methodology of this project was rigid. We first started by analyzing the views to and from the site, the functions surrounding it and the nature of the immediate surroundings. The eastern shore was given an industrial nature, the western was made into a park.

A traditional Helsinki city block structure projected onto the site was shaped to fit long vistas across the site and broken up to minimize wind acceleration. The corners of the buildings were rounded to smooth out wind loads. Sea views were maximized by lifting up the buildings by the shoreline and opening up the public spaces outward to the sea. Streetscapes were given a human scale by lowering the buildings down to two floors in central areas. These moves gave the area its bowl-like topology.

The city plan has been approved by the local authorities, and the general public has responded with enthusiasm to the promise of something different on the very conservative Finnish housing market. Construction of the first units will begin after the site has been cleared of the remains of the old power plant.

NAME: Development Plan for Hanasaari Residential Area

TYPE: Invited Competition, 2007, 1st prize

STATUS: Concluded

LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland

CLIENT: City of Helsinki

PROGRAM: New housing area and a school, 97,000 m2 total

TEAM AT ALA: Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston with Julia Hertell, Auvo Lindroos, Sami Mikonheimo, Esa Mäkitalo, Lotta Kindberg, Vladimir Ilic and Ting-Ting Dong

COLLABORATORS: Trafix oy (traffic engineering), Airix oy (mechanical engineering)

PHOTOS: Tiia Ettala