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Helsinki To Get New Waterfront and Cultural Centre

Helsingin kaupunkiympäristö | 2:37

Helsinki To Get New Waterfront and Cultural Centre

Tim Gibson

17 May 2021

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THE CITY of Helsinki has launched an international competition to redevelop the Makasiiniranta waterfront district and create a new cultural heart for Finland.

The competition winners will get to masterplan more than 83,000 square metres of prime underused waterfront land.

The land is currently being occupied by the Port of Helsinki, for terminal operations and parking.

A number of nearby historic buildings will have to be incorporated into the masterplan, including Olympia Terminal which was designed for the 1952 Summer Olympics, and Old Market Hall which opened in 1889.

Above: The planned redevelopment of Helsinki's waterfront. Image courtesy of City of Helsinki.

The City of Helsinki is looking for a partner who are operators in the construction and real estate industry who have the technical and economic know-how to plan and complete “a very demanding and high-quality construction project.”

Makasiiniranta is nationally and culturally significant for the city, forming a central and symbolic part of the maritime façade of Helsinki’s historic centre.

Through this masterplan the government wishes to expand the pedestrian city centre and the seaside trail around the shores of Helsinki and to provide space for a new Architecture and Design Museum.

The new museum will occupy roughly 9,000 square metres and act as the centre of a new cultural hub. Designers for the museum will be chosen in a separate competition.

Above: The waterfront is currently being used by the Port of Helsinki for terminal operations and parking. Image courtesy of City of Helsinki, photograph by Tietoa Finland and Janne Hirvonen. 

The government is asking for entries to be submitted by 21 June 2021. Those shortlisted by a jury of officials will be asked to submit their entry under a pseudonym in December 2021, they will then be put on display for the public.

The winner will then be selected by a multidisciplinary panel in autumn 2022.

“Cities evolve in response to cultural, societal, technological and economic shifts through time. Every generation should have the opportunity to improve the city they live in, and the transformation of this final part of South Harbour will integrate the heart of the city with access to the sea and archipelago, which are special characteristics of Helsinki’s identity,” Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori said in a press release.

“As this global pandemic has upended how we use public spaces and facilities, it is an appropriate and important time to look ahead and create a long-term foundation for all future Helsinkians that makes best public use of a prime piece of the city’s seafront and to give it the prominence it deserves.”

Header image courtesy of Ninara

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