Postipuisto central quarter

Background: site allocated competition 2016, 1st prize
Type: detail plan, building and courtyard design
Client: Fira, Setlementtiasunnot, Avara
Status: under construction
Timeline: 2017–
Location: Pohjois-Pasila, Helsinki, Finland
Scope of project: 35 400 m² housing, 960 m² commercial
Team: Antti Lehto (partner in charge), Antti Haataja (project architect), Emilia Ellilä, Anna-Kaisa Aalto
Competition phase: Antti Lehto (partner in charge), Emilia Ellilä (project architect), Sami Heikkinen, Vesa Humalisto, Anna-Kaisa Aalto, Lassi Luotonen
Photography: Martin Sommerschield (Kuvio Ltd)

The architecture is based on the design principles of ecological and social sustainability.


The site of a former logistics depot lies 7 km north of Helsinki’s city centre.

The heart of a new housing district

The depot area will be transformed into a new urban district. The size and massing of residential blocks are defined in the master plan.

Architectural concept

We proposed to break down the massive scale of the block. A variation in floor plan types are combined horizontally and vertically and expressed in the architecture. The block is composed of two elements. The lower part in brickwork masonry ’village’ enlivens street level activity.

The upper part, a large glazed balcony zone ’the cloud’ straddles the lower. It both shades the apartments and makes use of solar gain.

The public space is activated at street level via commercial premises and a community centre.


Residential courtyards are forest-like, inspired by the adjacent natural terrain with its mighty conifers and bare rocky outcrops.

Agile housing

The building types within block are designed to meet the needs of differing developers and clients. The “DNA chain” therein formed allows for their flexible development and location within the block.

The first part of the block has been completed with two buildings, in total 60 apartments, for Avara.

Common lobby

In the Setlementti building, there will be special housing for the elderly among the ordinary dwellings. The entrance connects both stairwells and the furnished common lobby creates a communal meeting place. Contrast in interior materials enhances safe and independent movement.

The project is a pioneer for future urban housing: the consideration of human scale and block density, renewable energy solutions and innovative apartment types as a totality.