are introduced to the area, in the form of four architecturally ambitious towers. In addition, the shoreline will be opened up to the public. Moving on to Otaniemi, which is home to “innovation university” Aalto, one can expect to see more good things. Aalto University is concentrating all its major functions here, with design and business students now joining the engineer students at the Otaniemi main campus. Here, all students have easy access to the metro and are only minutes away from downtown Helsinki. According to Louko, the City of Espoo is actively involved in developing the Aalto University Campus and working together to find the best solutions. Topping the thingsto-do list here is a brand new administrative building – realised in the true spirit of Alvar Aalto, of course. “The campus area could also feature a lot more residential elements, reaching all the way to the shoreline,” Louko says. The next stop, Tapiola, is undergoing a major beauty treatment as the legendary “Garden City” will be returned to its former glory – with plenty of new innovations in the pipeline, too. The remaking of the community revolves around the extensive renovation effort of Tapiola Centre. Energised by the metroline, the Tapiola Centre is looking to attract more customers through better connectivity. Sports Heaven After Tapiola, the next stop heading west is Urheilupuisto station (formerly called Jousenpuisto Station) which will be situated in Jousenpuisto, on city-owned undeveloped land south of the local tennis halls. The 28 Nordicum station will be characterised by the proximity of the sports park and versatile sporting opportunities ranging from tennis and floorball halls to an indoor ice-skating ring. Presently, the surroundings of the station are quite raw, offering a wealth of opportunities for the development and further construction of the area. The station designs also allow for construction on top of the metro station, says Matti Kokkinen. “With residential and business-oriented construction – as well as parking considerations – we’re talking about a rather tight package of 50,000 square metres of new construction here,” Kokkinen explains what’s in the cards for Urheilupuisto. Shopper’s Delight Next up: the last stop at Matinkylä. The dominant feature here is shopping centre Iso Omena, the fifth biggest shopper’s paradise in the land. Matinkylä station will be located on the empty lot at the southern end of the shopping centre. Since Matinkylä is the end of the line, it is a crucial feeder traffic hub which is estimated to be used by over 30,000 passengers daily. In fact, based on passenger forecasts, it will be the busiest station of the new line. The block where the station will be located is owned by the City, and is expected to witness a boom in complementary construction. The plan for the block allows the placement of commercial services, offices or even residential buildings. The arrival of metro is expected to attract both new businesses and residents here. There’s already a lot going on: NCC Property Development and Citycon are making a genuine “metro centre” here, conveniently linking the metro station, bus terminal and the shopping centre. Completed in 2015, the metro centre will also offer apartments, a swimming hall and 25,000 square metres of new retail space that come with the expansion of Iso Omena. Identity Comes First Looking at the string of stations from Lauttasaari to Matinkylä, Kokkinen and Louko are confident that the stations will deliver a totally new type of metro experience. “Each station will have a personality of its own. We have, for example, hired artists to work on the stations with artist Jaakko Niemelä coordinating the over-all effort,” says Louko. Each station gets its very own “designated artist” – or two, in some cases. This attitude links rather nicely with the World Design Capital 2012 target of getting more out of the visual experience. Also, one of the prerequisites for the designers is “instant recognition”: sitting in the train, for example, you need only to glance at the station you’re on and know where you are right away. Obviously the lighting of the stations plays a big role in the eventual user-experience. Therefore natural light will be exploited whenever possible and lighting solutions are aimed to promote accessibility and to prevent glare. The over-all guiding vision here is “metro station as a meeting place” – but how this objective is reached, depends a lot on the nature – the spirit – of the station.