Töölönlahti Block #2018

The charm of the Töölönlahti blocks is in their completing the immediate urban fabric without stealing all the attention. This urban row of buildings also shelters the park from discomfort and noise of the nearby railroad tracks, and stands as the principal spine to support the existing buildings and future public developments. Block #2018 culminates the row, subsequently characterizing the entire block.

The proposal is a continuation of the dualistic nature of Block #2018: a new natural terminus that gracefully complements the cityscape. Consisting of one office building and two residential developments, the proposal interacts with Finlandia Hall and the adjacent park through a one-story-tall café pavilion situated outside the borders of the actual block.

The whole site is anchored to the urban fabric with the office development’s pivotal south-east corner. The façade continues along the tracked perimeter northwards, eventually curving gently inwards. This subtle gesture again highlights its terminus character and also serves to direct the flow towards the park.

The offices’ northern end curves inversely to partially envelop the six-story apartment pavilion that loosely mimics the office building’s edge. These unique city villas will be the most desirable apartments in Helsinki. To the west of the office building is the other apartment pavilion that diagonally faces an entrance from the square at the end of Alvar Aalto Street.

The housing pavilion in the south-west corner is connected to the office building through an expansive brise-soleil along the south façade. These shading elements transform into balcony rails along the fronts of the apartments. The opposite facing of the linear south façade is a curvaceous and asymmetrical park of the city.

NAME: Töölönlahti Block #2018 competition, Finis

TYPE: Invited competition, 2011, Purchase

STATUS: Concluded

LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland

CLIENTS: City of Helsinki, Etera and Lemminkäinen Talo

PROGRAM: 3,200 m² of housing, 10,600 m² of offices

TEAM: ALA partners Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston with Harri Ahokas, Petra Grisova, Julius Kekoni, Pekka Tainio, Jyri Tartia, Yena Young and Yin Li