Helsinki FI

Type Commission, framework agreement
Role Landscape architect
Client City of Helsinki
Size 30,000 m2
Project start 2019
Status Completed


Hakaniemi Square is a place of historical importance. It was formed already at the beginning of the 20th-century and has since then been a busy market square. Historically the area surrounding Hakaniemi Square was a working-class neighbourhood, and the square played an essential role in the working-class movement. The new tramline, the bridge connection toward the eastern archipelago, and the development of underground parking and the densification of the shoreline create new demands for the historic square.


The buildings and surrounding areas that today define the square are from different periods. They create a multi-layered and diverse environment around the square. An example is the park situated to the east of the square, it was constructed in the 1960s as a formal garden, with distinct cut lime trees. Extensive transformation and developments are undergoing in the areas around Hakaniemi Square, and this creates new demands for studying how the historic place can be developed into a contemporary urban space while preserving its characteristics.

Preserving and reusing existing materials

The main goal of the master plan is to strengthen the connection with the surrounding areas and create a unified image of the space by using new and old elements. Currently, the primary material of the square is a cobblestone from the 1960s in warm red-brown colour tones. A subtle pattern underlines areas for market stands.

Preserving and extending the classic quality granite pavement towards the south connects the square with the future beach promenade. Some stones are exchanged with saw-cut granite pavers to improve the overall accessibility of the square and create accessibility routes while still preserving the image of the geometrical pavement.

Clear programming and a new framing

The existing bike connection across the park will remain. The bike path loosely divided the square into two areas. The furnishing of the northern region around the historic market hall with new distinct furniture, a water feature and bike stands emphasize the urban life with outdoor serving and stay options.

The new water features create a reference point in the open space and will become a meeting point. The Southern part will remain as an open functional market square. New trees will frame the space, create a distance to the busy street as well as coherence with the pocket park towards East.

Revitalising the park and creating a uniform image

Due to the changed traffic situation, the extension of the road width will remove some of the existing lime trees. Today, the rows of trees function as borders and define the square space. Instead of just replacing the trees, the green border is extended and mirrored towards the union street axis. The lime trees, together with geometrical planting beds,

do not only clarify the square’s boundaries but connect the image of the square with the eastern park. Hakaniemi park is also revitalized and extended towards North. With new active functions for residents and visitors, the park becomes a recreational addition to the square and a generator of urban life.