Housing and Masterplan in Kuopio, Finland.
(2nd Prize Europan 2013!!)
Status: Design Development. Location: Kuopio, Finland. Area: 54.275m2 (32.172 apartments + 11902 houses + 10.200 commercial) Design: OOIIO Architecture. Team: : Joaquín Millán Villamuelas, Marisol Antón Vicente, Patricia Moreno Blaso, Sergio González Gómez, Juan Naranjo García, Lorena Villoria Casado, Cristina Vicario Del Cojo. Client: Municipality of Kuopio.
Studying the project site we have detected an obvious problem. The train is cutting this city area and it is generating non connected zones that automatically become a “B zone”, were buildings doesn´t work properly, not enough users want to visit them, surrounded by lonely public open spaces that easily can become even dangerous. The train, very important to connect Kuopio with the whole country, is here generating problems. We decided to change that problem going straight over it. Why not to recycle this wasted space that the train is stilling to the city and make it the main spine of a new “bridge development” that connect perfectly the otherwise isolated zones. All over the train railway we have created a pedestrian bridge street that will be very attractive for Kuopio inhabitants, with a Wellness Center on it, full of shops, restaurants, cafes, gym, etc. This bridge street could be on the same current ground level if we dig a tunnel for the train, but also can work keeping the train as it is and developing the street on a + 7 m level, very well connected them to the main road coming into the city on our West plot side. We bet for density as a sustainable and profitable way of making city. Instead of building all over the South railway plot zone, which apparently could be the easiest place to bring up the entire project brief, we decided to concentrate the buildings program on both sides of our Pedestrian Wellness Center Bridge Street. Thanks to that we have a lot of advantages: - We win a new park! We could keep the 2 old existing buildings on the South of the plot, but as they are expensive to keep working and old, we believe that demolishing them and using its no dangerous fragments to create a new hilly landscape, we can give a new park to the city. Incorporating the small lake close to the plot to it, and also connected with the main road to the city center. This park will increase the zone attractiveness and the value of the existing and new buildings on the area. - We concentrate activity close to the Wellness Center and commences! This will make the commercial street more profitable and a great spine for the development, increasing the inhabitant interactions. - It is cheaper and more sustainable! Building with density reduces the impact of construction and allows us to concentrate and make more efficient building MEP´s. For making more attractive the commercial street, the proposed buildings have a singular shape, inspired in very different and recognizable objects: - like the big cranes located in ports or train stations, related with transport, very interesting for our chosen plot strategy, that are always attractive for the watcher; - melting ice, with caves, shadows, different colors, etc.; - a writing text, a graffiti. Humans find always a special connection with the artistic shape of worlds and characters, in Asia for example is a very important cultural aspect. - Etc. Playing with those diverse cultural references, together with sustainable principles and a rational and efficient housing distribution for a good and fast construction process and profitable investment for the developer, we came up with this buildings shape that will catch the attention of all Kuopio inhabitants and multiple visitors from outside. The best construction material could be wood from sustainable forests, because it is a local material that doesn´t need extra carbon emissions wasted in transport for it, is warm, comfortable, can provide nice home feeling to the building inhabitants.
This strategy of building bridge-constructions over the railway we think that could be a fantastic idea to export to other city plots, starting for a second phase that could be located following this project plot continuing the commercial street and closing the new park. Kuopio can be regenerated thanks to singular constructions placed exactly over where the problems were before, making the separated city zones to coexist together again. Rethinking the problem as the solution!