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Competition: Helsinki East Urban Centre

Itäkeskus and Puotila, Helsinki
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The City of Helsinki has launched an international ideas contest to remasterplan the suburban Itäkeskus and Puotila districts

The two-stage competition, organised by the Finnish Association of Architects, seeks ‘innovative, inspiring and sustainable’ proposals to regenerate the transport interchange on Helsinki’s eastern fringe which hosts two motorways and several large shopping centres and supermarkets.

The call for concepts aims to generate new ideas to transform the area into a new integrated ‘Helsinki East Urban Centre’ which supports the city’s ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2035.

According to the brief: ‘Itäkeskus is the most important subcentre of eastern Helsinki. The area is a major commercial centre even within the whole metropolitan area of Helsinki and a busy transportation hub for tens of thousands of daily commuters and customers.

‘Yet something essential is missing outside the walls of the shopping enclaves and the passing trains and vehicles: urbanity and people. The aim of the competition is to provide new functions to the proximity of the public transportation hub and commercial services and turn the area from the present-day transit centre into a vibrant urban area – Helsinki East Urban Centre.’

Helsinki is Finland’s most populous city with more than 640,000 residents. The city and surrounding region are a major tech hub featuring many globally leading businesses including consumer electronics giant Nokia.

Last year the city council held a design contest for a series of ‘stylish and sympathetic’ 5G base stations across the Finnish capital, which was won by a local team known as Stadika.

In 2016, the city ditched competition-winning plans by Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architects for a £110 million Guggenheim Museum in the nearby South Harbour.

Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit won a contest in 2017 for a mixed-use development around a new tram depot on Helsinki’s eastern fringe. Earlier this month, the city opened an international competition to remasterplan the central market square in Töölöntori.

The latest contest focuses on the centre of the suburban Itäkeskus and Puotila districts, which features one of the largest shopping centres in Scandinavia along with a major transport interchange.

Submissions may be in English or Finnish. Shortlisted teams will be announced in January 2020 and will have until the summer to draw up conceptual plans.

The overall winner – to be announced at the end of 2020 – will receive an €80,000 top prize while a second prize of €60,000 and third prize of €50,000 will also be awarded, along with up to two €30,000 runners-up prizes.

The deadline for applications is 4pm local time, 25 October.

How to apply

View the contract notice and visit the competition website for more information

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