Team Representative: Laura Nenonen (FI) – architect; Associates: Lotta Kindberg (FI) – architect; Miika Vuoristo (FI) – architect urbanist
Contributors: Joona Hulmi (FI) – architect; Taavi Henttonen (FI) – student in architecture
Helsinki – Suomi-Finland
M. Vuoristo, L. Kindberg & L. Nenonen
Click on the images to enlarge
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We have been working together since the very first semester of architecture school. Later on, this naturally evolved to a competition team and Europan has always been one of “the” competitions for us to do. We are a team of architects with a similar vision, ethics and philosophy, but with individuals who work on different scales from urban planning to details. For Europan we chose to work on a large urban scale, giving us an opportunity to combine our fields of specialty.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: Adaptability through Self-Organization, Sharing and/or Project (Process)?
The proposal is about creating connections between Seinäjoki city centre, the Pohja neighborhood, the old locomotive station area and the prestigious Aalto Centre, which is currently separated from the rest of the functional city centre. Moving the railway station southwards we were able to create a connective node that ties better together the once separated parts.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The proposal is strongly driven by the rail yard, which is both a separating and a unifying element of the city. The railway forms strong constraints for the design but it also creates possibilities to host different functions and bring varied user groups together, creating a centre that adapts to the different needs of the site and the users.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
Cobes’s proposal for the Aarhus Central Station area to convert the currently run-down areas of the old bus terminal into a lively, dense and diverse neighbourhood was a good example for us of how to tie old and new together and how to sequence public, semi-public and private spaces.
When designing housing quarters, we were also strongly influenced by Danish densely-built low-rise housing areas, of which Sibeliusparken in Rødovre is a classic example. We paid close attention to the hierarchy of spaces and in creating possibilities for social encounters between neighbours.
AJAK architects’ winning entry in the Ideas competition for the railway area of central Lahti (FI) inspired us on how to deal with the border between the railway and the city, especially on the Northern side of the tracks. Our main idea was to increase porosity by interlacing housing, parking and recreational space, while retaining a protective border between the tracks and the housing areas.
5. Today –at the era of economic crisis and sustainability– the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?
Through the proposed shift in the focus of the city centre we have tried to activate unused resources so that the economical, cultural and social dynamics has the highest chances to bloom. The aim was to create a basic concept for development that could be carried out piece-by-piece and executed in order to act as a catalyst for the growth of the city.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
It is our first participation in the Europan competition, so it is also the first time we have been awarded a prize at Europan. This gives us motivation to work on similar competitions in the future and we of course hope that we can collaborate in the development of the centre of Seinäjoki in the future. This prize also allows us to take part in the international platform that Europan provides and to promote our work internationally, thus promoting our professional careers.