Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2018 - Page 37

middle of Finland’s prime growth corridor – Hämeenlinna also offers great accessibil- ity and connections,” he adds. Deputy Mayor Juha Isosuo comments that as Hämeenlinna was founded in 1639, it was very much built around the town square and the lake was not in a major role for a long time. Later on, various industrial pursuits blossomed along the shorelines, but little value was seen in them otherwise. “Finally, as a focus in urban planning has turned to issues such as residents’ qual- ity of life, nature values and aesthetic con- cerns, the value of the waterfront has been fully recognized,” he says. Engelinranta Emerging An important piece in the City’s water- front plans is the development of Enge- linranta area. Located right in the down- town area, the Engelinranta shoreline holds 90,000 floor square metres that is available for development. The First project in the pipeline is the so-called bus station quarter (appr. 15,000 square metres) and a planning competition was hosted to gather ideas for its develop- ment. Rakennuskartio Oy of Lehto Group won the competition with its entry ‘Lohkot’ (Blocks). Kristiina Koskiaho, Managing Direc- tor of City development company Hämeen- linnan Eteläranta Oy, says that the plan is to preserve the old bus station and build new residential office premises in the area, along with a new hotel. “In the two-phase competition, citi- zen participation was used in an unprece- dented way. About 500 Hämeenlinna resi- dents were involved in the process and hun- dreds of comments were given to the com- panies in the contest,” she says, adding that residents’ input was also visible in the final competition entries. “The bus station quarter will be the very first project of this magnitude that fea- tures such strong co-creation with residents.” Functionally, the development of the area will improve the cityscape to the south. “This is a great kick-off for the development of the shoreline and the city centre,” she believes. Koskiaho comments that the buildings themselves will feature high-level architec- ture – that’s given – but there also needs to something extra: “In this project, we’re looking for a high-quality, visual outcome that is a good fit for the city’s development strategy.” Koskiaho says that the level of the competition entries was very convincing, sending a signal that Hämeenlinna is seen as a promising community. She believes that the city is quite attractive especially to those real estate players who are looking for alter- natives outside the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Tampere. “It is clear that Hämeenlinna has a lot of potential that remains untapped.” Floating Future Hämeenlinna wants to encourage a certain atmosphere of experimentation in its “reclaim the shores” strategy. One example of this approach was the inclusion of public art in the competition parametres: the competition participants had to come up with ways to spice up the neighbourhood via aesthetics, too. Talking about the waterfront, the City is apparently quite flexible with regards to the types of buildings that could be raised by the shoreline: residential construction is the priority, but also business premises can be included in the proposals. The wild card in the deck is “floating city”: Engelin- ranta could feature as much as 5,500 square metres of construction off-shore, built on floating islands. Koskiaho points out that floating According to Sirola, there are really no limits to what you can accomplish with floating construction. For example, sports and leisure centres, utility buildings, offices, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping centres and private homes can be constructed “off- shore”. Actually, you can even make swim- ming pools and put them on the water. Case in point: the Allas Sea Pool marine spa which opened next to the Market Square in Helsinki in the autumn of 2016. The idea was to open more of the capital’s precious shoreline to the public via an innovative con- cept which allows for year-round use. “As Allas was launched, we received a lot of positive feedback. It gives a great boost to the entire shoreline,” Sirola says, adding that Allas has attracted interest in the other Nordic countries, and globally, for instance, Australia is “in the loop” as well. For Sirola’s company, leisurely pur- suits remain the number one application for floating con struction, with residential solu- tions coming in second. However, as people get more comfortable with the idea of living on the water – and there are experiences to be shared – the trend may catch on quick. For Sirola and her team, the core in all of the work lies in the needs of the cus- tomers and the end-users. “We want to cre- ate solutions which improve the usabil- ity of the waterfront areas in a variety of ways. Through this, both residents and vis- itors gain access to new activities and expe- riences.” l Make It Beautiful Do the Water Dance M anaging Director  and Co-Founder Tytti Sirola from Bluet Ltd believes that float- ing construction will be a big international phenomenon, because cities, companies and citizens are strongly gravitating towards waterfront areas. “As a result of this, the land areas that can be developed are in short supply. However, when you utilise floating construction solu- tions you can do so much more.” Nordicum 37