World Design Capital Helsinki 2012

Press Release    World Design Capital Helsinki 2012      6 / 5 / 2011

International ideas competition for planning Helsinki South Harbour opens

South Harbour competition seeks direction for developing the core of Helsinki

The Helsinki City Planning Department is organising the international South Harbour ideas competition as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme. The entrants’ task is to create a comprehensive ideas plan for the South Harbour that can be used as a basis for the future development of the area.

The competition area is situated in a highly central location, covering the entire 23-hectare shore area of the Helsinki South Harbour. The area is an essential part of the city’s identity. The urban profile of the South Harbour opening to the sea can be considered the visiting card of Helsinki. The historical centre of Helsinki is also located close to the shore.

The purpose of the competition is to integrate the area more tightly into the city structure. The idea is to provide city residents with access to the sea and the opportunity to experience and create urban culture. New uses are sought for the buildings. It is also possible to construct new buildings in the area. The passenger ports and traffic solutions are to be developed further, since passenger ship traffic will continue.

“Many waterfront projects are about enlivening harbour or industrial areas no longer in use. We are now planning the most valuable core of the capital – an area that is actively used by city residents and that hosts a busy cruise port. Today, a large part of the area is off limits to the public, and a lot of space is taken up by parking,” says Tuomas Rajajärvi, head of the Helsinki City Planning Department, describing the challenges that the entrants are expected to solve creatively.

During the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year, the city seeks inspiring means by which residents can become involved in developing their living environment. As a basis for the competition, the City Planning Department surveyed the thoughts of nearly five hundred residents on the area and its future. The results of this survey are available to the entrants.

“We wanted the entrants to be aware of the wishes of the area’s users and to concretise the ambience we are looking for,” says interaction designer Juha-Pekka Turunen of the Helsinki City Planning Department.

The competition is open to everyone, and entrants are encouraged to form design groups consisting of experts in a variety of fields. One of the jury members evaluating the entries is the American architect Steven Holl, who designed the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki.

The competition period is from 2 May to 30 September 2011. The competition entries will be made available for public viewing and commenting in the Internet and at the information and exhibition space Laituri in the autumn. The result will be resolved in the spring of 2012. A total of €165,000 will be distributed as prizes.

A free-of-charge seminar on the competition will be organised in Helsinki on 27 May 2011. The competition programme and its enclosures can be downloaded from the competition website at <> .

Additional information
Tuomas Rajajärvi, Head of the Helsinki City Planning Department,
tel. +358 9 310 37100,

Helsinki together with Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti is the World Design Capital of 2012. The theme for the Design Capital year is Open Helsinki – Embedding Design in Life.

World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 main partners:
Blue1, Finavia – Helsinki Airport, Fortum, HOK-Elanto, KONE, Martela, MTV MEDIA,
Sanoma Magazines Finland, Viking Line


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