Kutsutud konkurss äri- ja eluhoone projekteerimiseks Helsingis, 2020

The client had expressed a wish to replace an existing building with a new one which would convey the classical language of architecture. There is a growing number of research revealing the overwhelming support of general public toward traditional and classical new buildings and there is a strong demand on the real estate market for them. The biggest challenge in the project was to find a delicate balance between the quite nondescript character of the neighbours and that of the new building. Surrounding buildings around the site have no coherent character. Especially the current view along the main street conveys no particular architectural quality. Some apartment buildings inside and in the nearest vicinity of the urban block appear quite pleasing with their somewhat restrained and delicately stripped facades. However, such buildings can be found inside the block and away from the main street which is the busiest street of the area.

Design of the new apartment house is therefore based on the following principles:
  • the new house has to respect and dignify its surroundings, its residents and the residents of Helsinki;
  • the new house has to strenghten the characteristics of Helsinki and not alienate from them;
  • the psychological impact that the new house will have upon citizens mental health, must be reassuring, calming and uplifting;
  • the new house has to perform better than the existing building in terms of maintenance costs, including both cost for heating, ventilation and lighting as well as other regular maintenance costs of the building;
  • the new house has to be cost effective and the real estate has to hold its value in the future.

This proposal is based on the assumption, that the best design rests on the time tested solutions of a specific place and combines them with all the requirements and amenities of modern life. Therefore a traditional architectural language is preffered. The choice of traditional architectural architecture rests on all previously mentioned preconditions and scientific research which demonstrates the stress reducing and healing effects of traditional aesthetics on human beings.

Following were the guidelines for successful design of the new building set forth at the beginning of the design process by the project architects:
  • The ground floor has to accommodate some commercial space and its main facades must have as much window opening as possible;
  • In terms of planning, smaller autonomous commercial spaces which could be joined together when needed should be preferred to a single large space;
  • The corner of the building must be emphasized;
  • Windows and doors should appear vertical in shape and be lined up vertically;
  • External finsihing of the ground floor facade must be different from the finishing of the floors above to give the building an expression of resting on the solid base;
  • The colours of the external finishing must be soft and preferably warm;
  • No glazed balconies should appear on the street side facades, the railings should be of metal;
  • Overall, it should represent and emphasize local architectural character and convey the best characteristics of local building traditions and Finnishness.

©2015 Arhitektibüroo Allan Strus OÜ

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