Competition area at Makasiiniranta. Photo: Tietoa Finland / Janne Hirvonen

The international competition for Makasiiniranta begins – the competition seeks solutions for a central shore area in Helsinki

Starting on 12 May 2021, the City of Helsinki will be holding a competition to find a partner for the development and implementation of Makasiiniranta at the South Harbour. The Makasiiniranta area will be developed as part of the pedestrian city centre and the seaside trail around the shores of Helsinki, and as a location for the new Architecture and Design Museum. The two-stage quality and concept competition is intended for both Finnish and international operators in the construction and property industry.

The western shore area of the South Harbour is being developed to become a more accessible place for Helsinki residents to share and enjoy. The objective of the Makasiiniranta competition is to find a solution that is suitable for the unique location in question and high-quality in terms of the urban space, the landscape and functionality, and can be used as the basis for further planning. The planning principles for the area have been prepared in interaction with Helsinki residents and other stakeholders, and they will steer both the planning and the competition. 

“This competition is being held to give Helsinki’s prime spot and face towards the sea a worthy use and appearance. As port operations develop, we are finally in a position to build the area the way it deserves to be built. The challenge is enormous, and here at the City we are serious and ambitious about it. We have identified the area’s significance and characteristics, which set the preconditions for seeking the best possible idea for how we will see the heart of Helsinki in the future,” Mayor Jan Vapaavuori describes. 

The Makasiiniranta competition is a search for the best overall plan. Culture, service, business and other facility construction can be proposed for the area, but not residential buildings. The competition also covers the area designated for the Architecture and Design Museum, in addition to which the aim is to have functions that support diverse museum operations in the area. The actual implementation of the Museum will be decided on later, after a separately held architecture competition.

The area, which is currently used primarily for the Port’s terminal operations and parking, will be turned into a public and pleasant coastal route and urban space. In the future, the Market Square will be connected to Kaivopuisto, and access to the seaside will be easier. The new urban space will also provide opportunities for non-commercial and recreational use with different age groups and the residents’ varied needs taken into consideration.

The surroundings of the Olympia Terminal will be largely freed for other use since people will travel to Tallinn from the West Harbour in the future. However, the area will continue to have international cruise ship traffic and an opportunity for shuttle ship traffic. The ships to and from Stockholm will operate out of Katajanokka. 

The competition seminar will be held online on 27 May

The competition’s content and goals will be discussed at the competition seminar on 27 May 2021 at 14:00–16:00 Finnish time. The seminar will be held online in English. You can also watch it later with Finnish subtitles. The seminar’s programme and joining link will be published on the competition website The competition programme and the materials for contestants are also available on the competition website. 

All competition entries will be made public for viewing and commenting in both stages of the competition. The entries in the first stage can be reviewed and commented on the ‘Kerro kantasi’ (‘Voice your opinion’) service in early 2022. The competition’s progress can be followed on the competition website. 

In the evaluation of the entries, special attention will be paid to the cityscape-related quality of the plans, the functionality and feasibility of the concept, the quality of the pedestrian environment and the urban space, and solutions that promote the implementation of the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 programme, as well as how the new Architecture and Design Museum, the Market Hall and the harbour buildings are taken into consideration. The winner of the competition will be selected in late 2022. 

The winning group will continue planning the area as partnership planning in collaboration with the City and act as the implementer of the plots to be formed on the basis of the competition entry. The City Council will later decide on the implementation agreement made with the competition winner and approving the detailed plan created for the area. 

“As for the City, we are committed to providing the area with a solution that is very ambitious in terms of quality but also feasible at the same time. We owe it to Helsinki and all its future residents to finally give the area the esteem it deserves,” Mayor Vapaavuori promises.

Video: Makasiiniranta Quality and concept competition

Video: Development of the South Harbour Bay – Makasiiniranta and Olympiaranta

Competition programme