Team Representative: Lassi Mustonen (FR) – architect
VIDEO (by the team)
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
Even though I love working in multi-disciplinary teams, this time I chose to participate in the competition alone. The project, however, is the synthesis of several years of cooperation with architects in France and in Finland. I have been very fortunate to have had the chance to work with amazing colleagues and I never forget that. Yet, this time it was important for me to test my personal designing skills and think about the urban landscapes in Finland more thoroughly.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
Like the urban infrastructure in many other cities in Finland, I found the cityscape of Hyvinkää challenging: It is fragmented and dominated by car traffic. Also the public transportation could be organized more efficiently. In specific, I thought that a transport hub that connects different transport modes would benefit the city. So, on the one hand I wanted to improve this specific aspect in Hyvinkää’s infrastructure. On the other hand, I wanted to come up with a project that would vitalize the urban life in the city center – or as you put it, make it a place of “productive activities.” I thought that the relationship between the environment and the human needed to be rethought. These two elements obviously support each other. Physical connections help to create social life. Therefore, public spaces are the key to my project. They help to connect people and make the city inclusive.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Hyvinkää’s fragmented structure and relatively wide streets give a possibility to infill the city and create new connections and public space. Because the railroad divides the city into two sides, it was evident to me that these two sides need to be connected. Therefore, I focused on developing a new station above the railroad. The new station that links the public transportation together is surrounded by mixed-used buildings and has a new public square. This weaves the urban fabric tighter together and makes it more coherent. When restructuring the city, it was of great importance for me to bring people together by creating new shared spaces.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
For several years, I have observed the post-war time architecture in Finland. Cityscapes that are characterized by fragmented urban areas, that are badly connected and do not support non-private-car-based mobility, such as walking and biking, are the unfortunate consequence of that planning period. Today’s visions greatly differ from those times. I have been looking for ways to engage in this area and this is my first contribution. At the same time any bigger city with a railroad going through the city centre areas are doing attempts to reorganise the railroad areas that are often located strategically in important places in the cities. Lahti matkakeskus-transportation centre designed by JKMM architects in Lahti, is a local example of connecting two sides of the city in Finland. When it comes to revitalising the cities at Scandinavian scale, a pedestrian street in Copenhagen in Denmark, Storget is a pioneer example from the 1960's. A very inspiring project that I have been privileged to follow close by when living in Paris is The Paris-Rive gauche development project. It is a great reference in terms of taking back spaces previously dedicated to traffic infrastructure.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
The proposal is meant to be realised in different phases to ensure that all actors get their voices heard. The solutions that the project offers, are negotiable but at the same time they provide concrete visions for the cityscape. This will help other actors to easily grasp the ideas but also feel that they have a say even at the later stage of the project.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
I participated in the Europan competition for the first time. I was honoured to hear that the jury found my ideas good. It encourages me to continue on the path and look for new solutions in the field of urban planning. The competition is well-known among architects in most of the European countries and I believe that this experience has enriched me as an architect. Yet, I find it most important that the proposal will raise discussion and a debate around new ideas. And hopefully one day these ideas will materialize in urban planning.
Average age of the associates 32 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
Last year I received first prize in an architectural competition « Asuntoreformi 2020 Helsinki in Pohjois-Pasila » with two other young architects from France and from Finland.