SPECIAL MENTION – SEAMLESS
Josip Jerkovic (HR), architect
Marta Lozo (HR), architect
Herbert Elsener (CH), traffic planner
Seamless is a realistic and feasible entry, in which the twin cities have been merged into a coherent whole by way of a small-scale and varied block structure. Its strength is the subtle and aesthetically pleasing vision for the development of the twin cities. The proposal is carefully researched and detailed, but the format of presentation for the project area plan makes it difficult to interpret.
The city blocks envelope cosy courtyards with an occasional city square of a suitable size in between, all with a different character and functions (School Square, Market Square, Town Square and Riverfront Square in Tornio and Green Square and Hub Square in Haparanda). The Hub Square next to the Start-up Hub, seems too remote to actually become a hub.
Highway E4 has been successfully altered into a street by removing roundabouts and by bringing the city blocks right up to the street and adding trees. The boulevard seems too narrow considering the volume of traffic, so this aspect might require adjustment. The entry includes a riverfront park with leisure amenities stretching from the boat harbour in the east far onto the west bank in Haparanda along the Lungo Mare Walkway, which is lined with several points of interest. Inside the semi-circle of Rajakaari, a landscaped park is proposed, with the section next to the highway justifiably allocated to more active use while the seaside would remain in a more natural state.
The urban context diagram shows that the scaling of the blocks and buildings is correct, although building as proposed might prove excessively efficient, and the terraced houses might be too large for the local house market. The architectural detailing is delicate and schematic, which forms a good basis for further planning. The phasing of the construction was not specified.
The Productivity theme is touched upon only in passing. The Start-up Hub and the botanical garden within the Rajakaari park area are the only examples of this. The ground-floor spaces in residential buildings are designated as multi-purpose spaces, including residents’ workspaces.
This entry, too, includes a closed city block on the site outside the competition site on the eastern side of Rajakaari, where a point block is currently being built. This detail does not compromise the quality of the competition entry in real terms.
The existing system of urban blocks is being expanded and enhanced. Irregularities in the gird condensate the movement of people and create a network of town squares with different primary uses. Through incremental transformation the existing structuring roads (E4 route and Storgatan) are being redesigned to productive streets enliven by flanking zones of mixed uses. Complementary to the productive streets, residential side alleys provide the needed density of population and act as public space able of strengthening the local community. By combining productive streets and residential alleys, conditions for diverse users including children and elderly are provided in the very urban centre, thus reducing city sprawling and its negative effects. Urban development embraces the Rajakaari park area which hosts a range of recreational and free time infrastructure directly used by the residents and serves as the hearth of the seamless TornioHaparanda.