Urban beach and festival venue

Type: landscape design
Client: City of Kaarina
Status: 1st phase completed in July 2019
Year: 2017–2019
Location: Kaarina, Finland
Size: 35,000 m²
Team: Leena Buller (project architect), Anni-Mari Anttola, Anna-Kaisa Aalto, Maiju Lehtimäki
Photos: Mika Huisman, Decopic

The design elevates the town’s most popular beach to a new level, and invites people to the waterfront.

Location

Hovirinta beach, near the centre of Kaarina, is the area’s most popular public beach. It is also a venue for a festival attracting around 20,000 visitors every summer.

Context

Kaarina is a small seaside city with a population of 34,000. The public beach has important social significance for its inhabitants, as there is around 140 km of shoreline within the municipality, but most of it is privately owned.

Concept

The clean-lined pier structure directs one’s gaze towards the long view along Kuusistonsalmi strait. The simple design of built elements and the marine planted zones merges into the wider landscape.

Piers as the assembling theme

The broad pier path frames the shoreline and forms a continuous edge dividing different functions from each other.

Marine vegetation that can withstand heat and dryness was chosen for the open beach zone. Species like buckthorn, grasses, perennials, and coastal meadow plants were favored. Part of the zone is periodically under water.

Sustainable structures

Material choices were guided by sustainability. The piers, beach huts, and stairs are made of local timber. Stones found on the site have been used in the planting areas.

Usability

The beach was designed to accommodate multiple uses. For example the traffic barriers transform into skating obstacles or seating. The entire beach zone is designed to be accessible.

Open views

The vegetation consists of groups of trees, lawn and meadows, and maintains open views to the sea. Diversified planting enhances the biodiversity and coziness of the area. The runoff water is cleansed by vegetated trenches.

The relaxed atmosphere of the town beach provides space for a range of users and serves as a scene for different functions: boaters, festival visitors, swimmers, outdoor recreation, cyclists, and skaters.