The architectural competition for Elielinaukio Square and Asema-aukio Square is starting on Friday 20 November. The aim of the competition is to find a functional overall plan for the area, to serve as the basis for preparing the revision of the area’s local detailed plan. The planning principles for the area were approved by the Urban Environment Committee in November.
The project is part of a larger renewal of the surroundings of the Helsinki Central Railway Station, one of the objectives of which is to turn the Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area into a pleasant and vibrant part of the pedestrian city centre. The project will significantly improve the functionality of the area, particularly from the perspective of pedestrians and cyclists.
The architectural competition is being organised as an invitational competition due to the notability of the site and to ensure that the proposals are of sufficiently high quality. The competition participants were selected based on a prequalification process. One of the criteria considered in the prequalification was the balance between international and domestic know-how.
The design groups invited to participate in the competition consist of teams headed by MVRDV, Snøhetta, JKMM Arkkitehdit and Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit and a team headed by Cederqvist & Jäntti Arkkitehdit and Arkkitehtitoimisto K2S.
Looking for high-quality solutions for squares that also take the special characteristics of the area into account
The aim of the competition is to find a design solution that includes sufficient land use efficiency, high-quality solutions for public streets and square spaces, and diverse functional content from office workplaces and retail to recreational services and meeting places while taking into account the area’s special features and starting points for the urban landscape. The assessment criteria emphasised in the competition programme are the quality of urban space, functionality and feasibility. The valuable historical character of the area must be taken into account in the re-development, and the elevation of the new buildings to be constructed should align with the surrounding buildings.
The competition is being organised by Elielin kehitys Oy in collaboration with the City of Helsinki. Elielin kehitys Oy is a fully Finnish development company formed by the area’s property owners: Ilmarinen, OP-Vuokratuotto, VR, SOK, Exilion Real Estate and Evata Partners, which specialises in property development and investments. The competition’s panel of judges includes an expert member from the Finnish Association of Landscape Architects (MARK) and an international expert member. The rest of the panel is composed of experts chosen by the City of Helsinki and representatives of Elielin kehitys Oy, who have extensive experience in construction and urban planning. The panel of judges is chaired by Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki.
Competition entries to be made available for public commenting in March
The competition entries will be published on the uusieliel.fi website soon after the end of the competition entry period in March 2021. Public commenting will be facilitated by a Kerro kantasi survey asking for feedback and ideas for refining the entries. The feedback received will be utilised in the evaluation of the entries.
Based on the preliminary schedule, the winner of the competition will be selected in July 2021. The aim is to then prepare a new local detailed plan for the area based on the winning planning solution.
If no single winner can be selected based on the first phase of the competition, a second phase will be organised for the winners of the first phase. The design groups selected to participate in the second phase of the competition will be given the opportunity to refine their competition entries based on various plans and surveys. The estimated start time of the potential second phase would be July–August 2021.
The progress of the competition can be followed on the website neweliel.fi, where updates will be published.