Vaasa (FI)

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Scales L/S

Team representative Architect, landscape architect, urbanist
Location Northern part of the Island of Vaskiluoto
Population Vaskiluoto 340 inhabitants, City of Vaasa 68 000 inhabitants

Reflection site 33 ha - Project site 11,4 ha

Site proposed by City of Vaasa
Actors involved City of Vaasa
Owner(s) of the site City of Vaasa

Commission after competition Further studies on the level of urban design.

More Information

Inhabited milieu's challenges

The island of Vaskiluoto, where the competition site is located, is situated to the west of the Vaasa city centre. The island is connected to the mainland by an embankment in the east and a bridge in the south. The activities on Vaskiluoto today are very diverse: one third of the area is in the use of industrial and port activities, though in the process of change; one third is in residential and other accommodational use, including a camping site; and one third consists of nature and recreational areas for locals and other Vaasa residents, as well as tourists.
The central location calls for developing Vaskiluoto as a unified part of the Vaasa urban area. The versatile functions in the area, including both current and new housing, should be secured at the same time as considering the development needs as the land use evolves. The prerequisites for a Vaskiluoto district centre with services for local inhabitants also need to be created, and the identity of the island needs to be identified and strengthened. According to the new Vaskiluoto master plan, one area assigned for housing is the competition project site located at the tip of the northern peninsula of the island.
Vaskiluoto’s greatest values, in addition to its central location, is the proximity of the sea and its versatile nature, and these values should be cherished. Water traffic is the characteristic mode of transportation, and the harbour and marina functions play a central role in the area’s identity. Vaskiluoto is partly heavily shaped by human action, and partly preserved in a near natural state. The connection with nature and the shorelines is apparent but not necessarily of a high quality.

Questions to the competitors

The re-use of the sites of the camping area and demolished hotel for a new housing area set amidst green and blue nature will offer unique opportunities for the creation of an attractive living environment, where a rich urban fabric meets the surrounding nature and the sea. The competition calls for insightful urban design proposals for these residential areas and shoreline development in the project area, where the environment should be holistic and promote the benevolent co-existence of all beings. The new living environment should take into consideration the needs of different lifestyles, age groups and cultural backgrounds in society: it should be encompassing and inclusive, and foster a community spirit from the very beginning. Possibilities for hands-on activities and self-expression should be created. The residents’ own sustainable and ecological choices should be supported and facilitated. Also, a resilience towards society’s changing needs should be considered. Cultural sustainability requires urban and architectural solutions of a high quality, in line with the cultural heritage of Vaasa and Vaskiluoto, and be able to withstand the test of time.
The amount of greenery should be maximised, stormwater managed effectively and the biodiversity of the environment should be promoted in all forms. These goals should be reflected and enhanced in the urban, architectural and landscape architectural design solutions.
The option of placing services and also some housing on the former Coast Guard area by the shoreline can be studied. The project area will be developed in three major stages, as the third phase will be implemented only if/when a new location for the camping site is found. The other seashores and the southern forest area will be retained as common recreation and service areas, but strategic and social connections between the project site and the Vaasa City Centre should be enhanced.

Questions on the site

In ‘Component Masterplan 2040’ there are indications about the buildable area. Regarding Niemi Res. Area, the brief says “The area is ca 6 ha and enables approx. 55,000 k-m2 of apartments(…)for around 800 inhabitants.”.The “55,000 k-m2” is referring to the unit km2? I guess wouldn’t be possible to build this amount. Can you please clarify?

The units "k-m2" refer to gross floor area expressed in square meters. 

The gross floor area of a building comprises the floor areas of the different storeys and the area of attic or basement storeys in which there are dwelling or working rooms or other space conforming to the principal intended use of the building.

The gross floor area is the horizontal area enclosed by the outer surfaces of the walls of the storeys or their imagined continuation for openings and decorations on the surface of the outer walls.

-Is there a minimum/maximum of the residential area to build? -Can you please clarify how many sqm we can build for 800 inhabitants? thanks

On the area marked AK2 in the Vaskiluoto component masterplan (the brown area on the map, see page 11), the goal is to place about 55,000 sq-m2 (gross floor area) for 800 inhabitants. For the rest of the project site contestants are welcome to propose appropriate amount of housing, considering the goals and conditions of the competition. 

It is said on the required drawings that "1 embedded aerial illustration of the project area (on the given photograph)" but which one of the given photographs or can you choose yourself? By the way, the photograph FI-VAASA-PS-AP1.jpg does not load.

Unfortunately the indication of which photograph should be used for the embedding isn't found in the Competition Brief. The aerial phograph in question is FI-VAASA-PS-AP2.jpg

(FI-VAASA-PS-AP1 is uploaded again to the server. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

According to the master plan, plot AK2 has a gross buildable area of 55,000 m2. Does this area correspond just to the area hatched in solid brown or it also includes the area hatched in striped brown (current campsite)?

AK2 corresponds to the solid brown area (ca 6 ha), which consists of the former Fennia Hotel’s area in the intersection of Niemeläntie Road and Haukilammentie Road, and partially reaches also to the southern part of the current camping site.

The gross area in the striped area (current campsite) to be built possibly later is not yet defined, but competitors should study and propose appropriate amount of housing there. 

Note: the gross area consists of all the floor areas of the buildings, so the covered / built-up area on the ground surface is much less than 55 000 sq-m.  

According to the regulations, the parking norm for housing is 1 car place/100m2, which means approximately 5,000-5,500 parking places for the whole project. Is it right?

50,000 sq-m  diveded by 100 car places/sq-m  = 500 car places 

This site is connected to the following theme

Designing new habitats as a holistic environment

Some nature reserves around the world are deserts –hot or cold–, but they host all kinds of animals and microorganisms hiding in the cracks and crevices, under the rocks. Some of our sites look empty, vacant, but they are not. They are full of life: in the soil, in the air, in the breeze. They are part of a larger balance of natural forces and processes. On these sites, substantial new volumes of programme are required. Think of these sites as the opportunity to multiply the number of life forms, think of the request to build new habitats as an opportunity to design a holistic environment. Think tabula non-rasa!

Specific documents

Questions on the site

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Fr. 2 June 2023
Deadline for submitting questions

Fr. 16 June 2023
Deadline for answers

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