“You shouldn’t go from home to work without crossing a forest”.
Helsinki is a city characterized by a well defined geographical condition. It is an ‘archipelago city’ where autonomous islands are linked together thanks to the presence of the sea. Each of them, as the same Laajasalo, has its own complexity due primarily to the orography, characterized by the presence of an articulated hilly system which alternates ridges, highlands, loopholes and small plains between the hills. These elements define different ‘natural morphological units’, which correspond to distinct ‘urban morphological units’.
A common character is recognizable in these parts because of the forest’s presence which occupies the island, defining an ‘idea of life and living’ within the compresence of city and nature. At the same time, these parts are separated by the highway trace, a continuous physical sign, in opposition to the city. The project recognizes in those issues the possibility to lead into a ‘formal and semantical unity’ fragments actually unlinked.
The project defines the highway as a peremptory sign which assumes the island’s territorial scale and through his own continuity desribes its variations. Specifically, the street has been re-designed as a long and ‘ancient’ market street with borders marked by double storeys mixed used buildings. Commercial and working spaces, such as offices and small industrial premises are located at the ground floor, with a plan characterized by high flexibility. Houses for mixed social communities, spatially organized as duplex, occupy the first floor. Co-living and co-working places stand behind this linear building and evocate with their form the space of the forest’s clearing.
The bay, characterized by a concave form which expresses an ‘internity’ condition, occupies the north-west part of the site of the boulevard. This area is pointed by two systems of towers that as a ‘lighthouse’ and a ‘castle’ define this place as a large ‘water-paved’ square. At the foot of the towers, a large hypostyle hall like a ‘forest of pilotis’ defines a large covered public space.
These complex buildings host the marina, its facilities, dwelling, hotels and restaurants.
Through their form the towers represent landmarks that make stronger the relation with the others archipelago’s islands and Helsinki downtown.