Helicopter view of Asema-aukio and Elielinaukio. Photo: Miikka Ruohonen / Lentokuva Vallas Oy.

An international architectural competition to be held for the re-development of Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio as part of a larger project to develop the Central Railway Station area

An international invitational architectural competition is being organised for the re-development of the squares of Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio in Helsinki. The competition is planned to start in November. The aim is to prepare a revision of the area’s local detailed plan based on the winning competition entry. Planning principles will also be prepared to serve as a basis for the planning of the area, a draft of which is currently on public display.

Aiming for a clearer, safer and more pleasant whole

The area surrounding Helsinki Central Railway Station is being re-developed. The aim is to turn the Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio area into a modern, pleasant and vibrant part of the pedestrian city centre. The project is part of a larger effort to re-develop the Central Railway Station area.

Elielinaukio is being examined as an area for commercial construction that should blend in with the surrounding buildings. The valuable historical character of the area will be taken into account in the area’s re-development, and the elevation of the new buildings to be constructed should align with the surrounding buildings. The new buildings to be constructed in the area may consist of business, office, service or cultural premises. At Asema-aukio, the plan is to carry out new construction in a way that will allow the area to still be characterised as an open square The buildings to be constructed in the area should consist primarily of commercial premises.

The aim of the architectural competition is to find a planning solution that takes all of the area’s special characteristics and valuable environment into consideration while offering high-quality street and plaza solutions for use by city residents and rail transport passengers. The area will become safer and more attractive as a result of clearer thoroughfare and parking traffic. The project will significantly improve the functionality of the area, particularly from the perspective of pedestrians and cyclists. At the same time, surveys will be carried out on the potential expansion of the area’s underground facilities and improving their connections to the aboveground pedestrian world. On Kaivokatu, at the southern edge of the area, plans will be coordinated with those of the Crown Bridges light rail line.

The New Eliel is the only notable re-development project in the inner city centre that will create much-needed new workplaces in the city centre. These workplaces will be the most accessible workplaces in the Helsinki region in terms of public transport. Upon completion, the project will create a new area in the centre of Helsinki with a wide range of services, where both residents of Helsinki and tourists will be able to spend time, engage in recreational activities, use services or work.

Detailed plan revision being planned

A revision of the area’s local detailed plan is currently being prepared with the aim of making it possible to carry out new construction on Eliel Square and the Station Square. The revision concerns Elielinaukio, Asema-aukio, Postikatu and the buildings of Postitalo, Sokos and Vltava.

A draft of the area’s planning principles and the area’s participation and assessment plan will be on pub-lic display from 24 August to 11 September at hel.fi/suunnitelmat. An online event on the planned revi-sion of the local detailed plan will be held on 1 September at 17–18. More detailed information on the event and plans are available (in Finnish) at hel.fi/suunnitelmat.

Driven by Finnish operators

To ensure high-quality competition entries, a total of five planning groups have been invited to participate in the architectural competition. These planning groups were selected based not only on their experience and references, but also on the balance of their international and domestic expertise.

The competition is being organised by the fully Finnish Elielin kehitys Oy in collaboration with the City of Helsinki. Elielin kehitys Oy is formed by the area’s property owners Ilmarinen, OP-Vuokratuotto, VR, SOK, Exilion and Evata Partners, which specialises in property development and investments. The competition jury includes the organisers, expert members from the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) and the Finnish Association of Landscape Architects (MARK) and an international expert member.

The architectural competition is planned to start on 1 November 2020. According to the preliminary schedule, the results of the competition will be announced in April–May 2021. The competition can be followed on the website neweliel.fi, which will publish updates on its progress. The competition entries will be published on the website once they are ready, and feedback on them for the competition jury will be collected in the form of a Kerro kantasi survey. The aim is to prepare a new local detailed plan for the area based on the winning planning solution.

Further information:

Perttu Pulkka, City of Helsinki, Senior Architect
perttu.pulkka@hel.fi, p. 09 310 37465

Vesa Olkkola, Elielin kehitys Oy
vesa.olkkola@kimvestor.fi, p. 040 544 23 21