Helsinki FI

Type Commission, part of a framework agreement
Role Main consultant
Client The City of Helsinki
Size 12 ha
Project start 2017
Status Completed


Closeness to the city centre and nearness to the sea is the starting point for developing a new maritime neighbourhood on the southern tip of Jätkäsaari with housing for 2000 new residents. The transformation of the former industrial harbour areas along the shores of Helsinki creates the possibility for utilizing the recreational potential and developing new characteristic neighbourhoods in between the historic city centre and its surrounding archipelago.  


At Melkinlaituri, the closeness to the ocean holds both great potentials as well as challenging circumstances for creating pleasant urban spaces along the shore. Our masterplan for the streetscape and urban spaces of Melkinlaituri seeks to establish a strong connection with the surrounding ocean, both spatially with views, stay and recreation and through the choice of materials and plantings.

In harmony with the harsh conditions of the open sea

Melkinlaituri is a landfill area with astonishing views towards the open sea. With the unique qualities of being close to the open sea comes a set of challenges regarding wind and water. The new housing blocks and their surroundings have been designed to suppress the rough winds affecting the seashore. Carefully planned vegetation and terrain forms allow for pleasant microclimate conditions in the parks and streets of the area.

The shoreline of the waterfront park, Neptunuksenpuisto, also required precise planning, as strong and large waves repeatedly hit the shore of Jätkäsaari, rearranging and throwing around the stones of the shore. This limits the types of structures that can be built along the shore. A structure of larger cubical stones in a gently sloping arrangement both diminishes the height of the waves hitting the shore and creates a special place for experiencing the elements.

Developing a distinct character 

The design of the area and choice of materials continue the character of Jätkäsaari, but with a subtle twist to establish Melkinlaituri as it’s own area with a distinct atmosphere. As an example, the lightning in the area follows the same design as the streets surrounding the area. However, the parks and the pedestrian streets at Melkinlaituri have a different type

of lamp, typical only to Melkinlaituri. Additionally, the vegetation of the streets in the area are typical to the inner city of Jätkäsaari, yet the vegetation of the pedestrian streets and parks reflects more the closeness to the ocean with plants characteristic to the archipelago.

A pedestrian-friendly and livable neighbourhood

The tip of Melkinlaituri will form a large public park as an extension of the inner promenade street. The pedestrian-friendly road network is centred around the main pedestrian street that stretches through the area to the beginning of Jätkäsaari, as an urban spine. The area is easily reached by either tram or foot, and from the inner street, you experience views to the

ocean. The stone paving of the pedestrian streets takes inspiration from the wave patterns of the open sea, which creates lively and unique patterns distinctive for Melkinlaituri. The carefully planned paving combined with active 1. floors, planting-islands filled with archipelago vegetation and a visible channel for rainwater creates a rhythmical and interesting cityscape.

Influenced by the sea and by the urban environment of Jätkäsaari. At the harbour front and in the streets closest to the shore, the choice of material, plantings and furniture is inspired by the sea. Further down the inner street towards the city, the street change character and reflects the style of Jätkäsaari.
The shores of Melkinlaituri continues the beach promenade. The most important urban spaces are placed along the promenade and contribute to creating an active and public harbour front. A main inner street function as the social spine connecting Melkinlaituri with Jätkäsaari and the city centre.
In the Melkinlaituri neighbourhood, people are put above cars in the urban hierarchy. The pedestrian street stretches out through the area connecting it with Jätkäsaari and creating a neighbourhood that encourages walking, biking and using public transport. The parks and urban spaces are well-connected with the pedestrian network.
Active ground floors and strategically placed public functions ensure a safe atmosphere and thriving urban life throughout the day.