Turku FI

Type Commission
Role Main consultant
Client Senate Properties
Size Planning area 5 ha
Project start 2020
Status Completed 2020


Pihlajanimi Stormwater Park will form the social and recreational heart of the neighbourhood. Rainwater management creates the base for an atmospheric park with various sport, play, and recreational functions. The dynamic and lush landscape is designed to hold a 100-year flood. The meandering stream divides the park into a varied landscape of open areas and smaller more intimate paths and stays areas. 


The Pihlajaniemi area is former military land located between the city centre and the archipelago South of the city. The open area will be transformed into a new residential area with a central stormwater park. A vision plan has been drawn up for the neighbourhood by Gehl Architects and AJAK Architects as a base for further planning. Our master plan of the stormwater park and the street design manual is the next step in realising the vision.


A dynamic landscape for storing rainwater

With the master plan, we seek to utilize the potential of rainwater management to create varied habitats that support high biodiversity and forms a rich park environment filled with sensory impressions for its users.


The park is framed by a concrete seating edge, a design concept of a solid edge that frames a dynamic inner landscape, but also a necessity due to the soil conditions. The layout of the park allows the inhabitants to enjoy the dynamic and ever-changing streambed landscape. During everyday life, the small stream calmly meanders through the park. While in flood situations the stream grows, fills up the park and forms three temporary lakes. The small stream provides the trickling sound of water and a calming

view of a meandering stream leading through a varied park landscape. Starting from the channel street in the north, where seating stairs allow for a sunny break close to the stream. As the streams turn the corner and enter the park, it flattens out into a broad and rocky streambed connecting the small square and the sport/play area on the opposite side. From here on, the stream becomes narrow and bordered by elder trees, leaving space for open flexible lawn areas. A bridge centrally in the park functions as a dam and holds the water back, creating a permanent lake. In the last part of the park, the stream is wider and less deep, creating a wider wet meadow zone. The stream ends in a bowl-shaped clearing, where it disappears underneath the pavilion.


A street design manual for the Pihlajaniemi neighbourhood

The material palette and material strategy support the intentions and urban strategies described in the Vision Plan and Architectural Guidebook created by Gehl Architects. An urban spine runs through the neighbourhood from the neighbourhood square in the North to the beach promenade in the South. The importance of the square and the promenade connection is highlighted through the use of high-quality materials to create a distinct character and identity. Along the promenade, smaller stay areas and important ”urban hinges” is defined and highlighted with granite pavement similar to the neighbourhood square. Shared space streets and the areas along the water channel and park is defined by the

classic Turku concrete pavement together with rainwater management and large planting beds with lush planting to establish an urban feel.


Today, pioneer species as birch, willow, aspen and pine have populated the abandoned military area. On and around the characteristic rock hills of the area, old oak, pine and even fruit trees grow. This combination of self-grown native species creates a wild and varied expression that inspired our planting concept. The future planting will create a diverse expression and supports high biodiversity in the area. Along the roads, a more classic monocultural planting scheme is suggested.