Project name
Location
Competition
Design
Study area


Koivusaari urban plan - Meritähti
Helsinki
Open competition, voted 2nd best by public
2008
18,8ha (gross floor area 218 500m2)

Our entry Meritähti (Seastar) for the International Ideas Competition for Koivusaari creates a symbolic gate for Helsinki. The motorway cutting the island in two is covered with a deck structure hiding traffic and parking areas. This reduces the noise of traffic in the area. The compact solution doesn't demand further filling of the sea and doesn't affect the water flow. North of the island there is a village for floating houses.
Though the result is a megastructure, the design process began by focusing on the living conditions of a resident. Every apartment has a direct sea view. The undulating form encloses intimate courtyards protected from the strong sea winds. Private cars are not needed as there is only a short walking distance to an underground station. A compact building volume and the mixing of functions ensure adequate services in the centre of the area. The strong marine identity of the environs as well as short distances help to create a sense of community for the residents of this sustainable area.
Building height varies from four to ten stories resulting in a lot of roof terraces for penthouse apartments. This chamfering of the building mass ensures long views also on the courtyard side of the building and lets the sun shine in the courtyards. The building section widens downwards so that the terraces of the upper floors don't shadow the terraces below. This way the lower floors also get larger terraces to compensate for the inferior views. This solution also helps to join the more than 200 000 m2 building to its small scale surroundings.