The Twin City TornioHaparanda with its open border is a unique statement in the time of global conflict and rising nationalism. It represents the Nordic spirit and acts as a gateway to the Arctic. The proposed urban scheme ‘Two Cities One Heart’ aims to support this unique unity, creating one active heart for the twin city.
The proposed dense urban structure creates shelter in the arctic climate, while catering for a variety of activities and functions. The proposal places emphasis in the use of locally sourced materials to produce high-quality construction and urban spaces that define the atmosphere of the area. The twin city is further activated with three distinct interventions: the Loop, the Boulevard and the Rajapuisto Park.
In this proposal, the urban fabric on each side of the border is stitched together with a distinctive route, the TornioHaparanda Loop, where commerce, production and recreation meet. New and existing retail centres, as well as a variety of activities for the residents and visitors are all connected to this new pedestrian pathway, which spans all the way through the city fabrics, the Rajala-På Gränsen and Barents Centres, the river shore and the Rajapuisto park.
Secondly, the route E4 is truly transformed into a connecting artery – a productive boulevard that feeds the region. Where passing through the urban fabric, the route is presented as an urban street – a boulevard with ample space for pedestrians and cyclists. The two ground floors of the blocks lining the Boulevard are treated as flexible raw space that is suitable for small scale production, such as breweries or craft shops, as well as office space. This barrier of production spaces also protects the living environment from the traffic noise of the boulevard.
Finally, the Rajapuisto park remains an arctic void defined by the urban structure – treated as an active park yet tranquil in its vastness. The park is outlined by a variety of neighborhoods, each with their own distinctive profile and a balanced mix of various types of apartments. The round shape of the park is further reflected in the circular lighting installation that stretches into the Tornionjoki river, representing the concept of circular economy that is materialized in the other intervetions of the proposal.
When combined, the presented interventions create intriguing opportunities for commerce, production and tourism alike. From two cities separated by the border…… to a twin city with one heart!