With the mission to revitalize the area of Eliel and Asema squares downtown Helsinki, the concept “Klyyga” was developed. Translated into “the crossing” in local slang, Klyyga aims to both fit in and add to contemporary Helsinki. The project emphasizes on the two city grids that meets at these squares, Elielinaukio and Asema-aukio, and the aim is to create a vibrant new plaza and city block, supporting the Helsinki urban strategy: To make the city center more vibrant and accelerate green mobility.
Embracing site history
The new city quarter consists of a stepping building frame embracing the Vltava building. The Vltava building´s angled footprint has been guiding the new quarters framework to the site history and city grid. The stepping skyline is characterized by adaption to the adjacent building heights and volumes, and the building designs are based on daylight qualities for interior program and the inclining facades for daylight, space, and permeability at grade. The new quarter has a strong personality with an architecturally framed base of glass and natural stone and a vertical corrugated top volume that communicates with the lines of Saarinen’s station.
The new identity for the architecture is both contemporary and adapting to its historical surroundings. It has a holistic concept for sustainability in both energy harvesting, material use, social sustainability, and green mobility.
The building has a hybrid timber structure that is exposed to the warm interior, and the façade design is based on passive principles, allowing for generous daylight through the interior while blocking out direct sunlight to prevent overheating. This also gives a characteristic vertical expression in warm granite and clear glass that communicates with the facades of the train station.
The overall mobility concept is to change from car traffic and surface parking and bus traffic to greener mobility, including high-quality bicycle lanes and a generous bicycle parking area below grade. Included in the new identity is a generous, common urban carpet for walkability and green mobility.