Urban renewal with pedestrians in mind

Type: feasibility design as base for detail planning
Client: City of Vantaa
Timeframe: 2019
Location: Tikkurila, Vantaa, capital area
Scope: 14,2 ha
Team: Antti Lehto (principal designer), Anna-Kaisa Aalto (project leader), Sami Heikkinen, Aleksandra Borzecka, Lassi Luotonen, Siiri Mikola, Timo Paananen; commercial consultant Tuomas Santasalo (WSP Finland Oy)

The vision defines flexible principles in which an existing pedestrianized central area is developed in terms of activity and amenity.

Location

Tikkurila is situated near the airport and a 15 minute train ride from Helsinki city centre.

There is a link to the airport and long distance rail destinations. The Vantaa tramline, currently at design phase, will greatly improve the accessibility of the area surrounding Tikkurila railway station.

A rapid change

At present there is a lot of activity in the central pedestrian area, although its townscape is fairly incoherent. The existing blocks do not allow for the addition of new commercial premises or residential development.

There are a number of major planning schemes concurrent in the zone. In its vision brief, Tikkurila were looking for a set of functional and townscaping principles as a base for a district plan. The work is part of a wider central development project.

A magnet at the end of a pedestrian street

Out of various development proposals put forward, one model was chosen in collaboration with the client, offering a new and bolder approach to the direction of development.

Residential, office and commercial space is united in compact hybrid blocks, creating a magnet at one end of the pedestrian zone. This attracts a considerable amount of new residents and workplaces, and the vibrancy of the central area is maintained.

Commercial spaces as part of the concept

The commercial concept, formulated in collaboration with experts, was integral to the designs. By consideration of space sizing, we were able to locate different types of
service together to be of mutual benefit to the whole scheme.

Organizational townscape

An important part of the proposal is the creation of a set of guiding principles of sufficient simplicity and flexibility. Three different type categories were defined as an aid to more detailed town planning.

The hybrid blocks at the end of Tikkuraitti create a townscaped termination to the pedestrian street. Highrise buildings of 12-16 storey point blocks are amassed into clear groups. The parklike main street is emphasized by 8-storey buildings.

In other places development is low-rise and variable, in the spirit of the old borough. The range of roofscapes and upper stories is diverse and variable.

The hybrid block contains commercial, residential and office space, with parking facilities concentrated underneath.

Chain of urban parks

The pedestrian axis is extended with two park-like squares. These new urban spaces provide space for events, outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants, and planting.

Ideas concerning the influence of the changing seasons were evaluated with the project steering group. Closeable glazing at street level increases the usability of external spaces during cooler periods.

Glimpses of greenery in the courtyards

The verdant courtyards are incorporated into street views via gateways, openings and low building masses. By opening out onto circulation routes, the courtyards increase the greenery and a sense of space into narrow pathways.

Brickwork and tints

The widely varying natural colours of brick are paired with earthy but saturated tinted painted surfaces. In the pedestrian areas coloured surfaced are repeated in one direction with masonry surface placed crosswise.

A bold and complex vision backed up by simply applied principles.