Residential apartment building

1. price, invited competition entry in collaboration with Steven Holl Architects


Helsinki, Finland

Design collaborators:
Steven Holl, Vesa Honkonen

Project Architect:
Jongseo Lee / Steven Holl Architects

Anja Hämäläinen, Mari Koskinen, Tiina Olli, Jaana Tiikkaja, Erika De Martino / Vesa Honkonen Architects

Tero Aaltonen / Matti Ollila & Co, Consulting Engineers Ltd

8 300 m2

More Info


Helsinki, with some of the best urban housing stock of any European city, has characteristic types of housing defining street edges and blocks; the weight of masonry forms sitting firmly on ground.

The Taivallahti site is an inner block bounded by existing buildings. Instead of defining urban street edges, housing here might suffer from “walling out” and a blocked sea horizon.

The mid-block “meander” form maximizes potential views and sunlight to the new apartments rising in section towards the sea horizon. Shaped void space within the block results in a new character of inner block garden space. The gardens are calibrated with garden walls 10 meters apart allowing the possibility of “allotment gardens” cultivated individually by residents. The glass meander form is inscribed over this 10 meter wall in a rhythm almost like a musical score (Sibelius lived nearby).

Every apartment has a view either to sea or to Hesperia Park, many of them have both. Due to low angle of sun the conditions of light are extreme in fall and springtime with long shadows and narrow light beams. This will emphasize the shape of Meander. Meander will glow in the evenings as a new Taivallahti sculpture of ice.

On the top of the Zinc roof there is a sauna with a roof terrace and a sea view for residents use. The roof also has a jogging track alongl its full length serving also as the as exit to roof balconies.