Colorful communal housing

Background: invited competition 2017, 1st prize
Type: detail plan
Client: AEL & City of Helsinki
Status: planning in progress
Year: 2017 –
Location: Malminkartano, Helsinki, Finland
Size: 48 900 m² housing, 600 m² commercial
Team: Sami Heikkinen (partner in charge), Ville Mellin (project architect), Anna-Kaisa Aalto (landscape arch. in charge)
Competition: Sami Heikkinen (partner in charge), Otto Heinonen (project architect), Anna-Kaisa Aalto (landscape arch. in charge), Vesa Humalisto, Antti Lehto, Anni-Mari Anttola, Emilia Ellilä, Antti Haataja, Ville Mellin, Martina Pitakova

A incoherent campus area is transformed into a communal and climate-friendly neighbourhood.


Malminkartano lies north of Helsinki city centre, a mere 15 minute train ride away.


The character of the proposed area stems from its experimental and colourful architecture. The surrounding green areas offer excellent prospects for outdoor activity.

New pedestrian routes and connections

Green spaces, gardens and leafy lanes establish new connections with the surrounding hills.

Active public spaces

Carefully designed landscape features provide each public spaces, lane and courtyard with a site-specific atmosphere.


Variation in housing type, colour and roof form lend a distinctive character to the new area.

Climate-awarness through communality

Motivated residents are more likely to embrace climate-friendly choices and urban culture than average members of the population.

Communality is encouraged through carefully carefully considered block layout and size, and landscaping for shared gardens and common spaces.

Social diversity is achieved by combining various housing typologies and living arrangements.

Active and passive solar design

Pitched roofs are designed to accommodate solar panel. The form and orientation of courtyards creates a warm micro-climate, while vegetation prevents apartments from overheating in summer.

A project that integrates urban design and landscape architecture to promote communal activity.