Tampere Travel and Service Centre
Architects: AZPML, Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki
Status: Competition (2014)
Visualizer: Beauty and the bit
Budget: 340.000.000 €
Scale: 100.000 ㎡ Medium
Ratio: 3.400,00 €/㎡
Types: Masterplan, Public space, Station, Transport

A landscape of containers

The idea of a collection of vertical containers is very much the inspiration of our proposal. The project has been conceived as a collection of vertical volumes that contain different types of urban activity. These new silos are landing on larger socles of public program which act as interfaces between the programs contained in these new vertical structures, and the public realm.

The image of silos is also resonant with Tampere’s industrial past and the Tammerkoski Rapids. The flowing water body surrounded by industrial containers has been very much part of the references for our proposal.

Crystalline, dynamic geometry

The urban containers that constitute our proposal are treated as crystalline, unstable volumes, to emphasize the dynamic nature of the station’s surrounding.  The relationship to the Tammerkoski Rapids as the origin of Tampere as a city is again relevant here. The industrial origins of Tampere are due to the rush of water between lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi which nurtured the demands for power of this emerging city. Our attempt here has been to capture this dynamic spirit of the natural milieu of Tampere in the architecture that surrounds the Station, the new epicenter of dynamism of the new Tampere. Hence, the vertical containers that dot the future urban landscape around the station will have been designed as crystallized bits of the energy that flows through the station. So is the canopy of the station, whose geometry is designed as a resonance with the ripples of the Rapids stream.

While the containers are systematically square in plan, with a central vertical circulation core in order to provide the most flexible and dividable floorplate, they have been designed with an antimetric, tapering mitering on every corner, which generates an effect of instability and lightness.  The resulting effect is an illusion of tilting that defies the gravitational stasis and makes the project resonate with the dynamic expression of the Tammerkoski Rapids.

Cityscape considerations

Our proposal is aimed to organize the Tampere Station area more effectively in terms of flows and connections. It is also aimed to create a new identity to this crucial area. Our proposal defines the rail yard borders more accurately while providing safer and more comfortable underground passageways connecting the western and eastern sides of the City. These passageways have now being fully integrated into a new underground shopping centre, so they are continuously supported by active frontage. A light canopy structure has been proposed to cover the platforms. It is designed to provide shelter for passengers but also to use the structural properties of folded planes to produce a spatial and formal effect, reminiscent of the texture of the Rapids, which will provide a very distinctive identity to the area. The bus station is linked with the platforms by the same canopy, creating continuity of shelter between the different transport modes.

The Station Square is the architectural device which will connect seamlessly the urban ground level with the new underground connective tissue of retail and amenities: two large, open-air auditoria, carved on the plaza surface, and a new underground tunnel which starts at the end of Hämeenkatu and crosses underneath Rautatiekatu will link directly with the new underground pedestrian infrastructure, producing a seamless connection. Hämeenkatu, the main street in Tampere, will end on this square, which we have tried to define more precisely by slightly reducing its scale and building density on its North and South edges, framing the square between those buildings.

The row of new buildings at Rautatiekatu adapts the scale of the Liebeskind-designed towers to the existing skyline, which is relatively low. Our design of the towers, with a distinctive crystalline image is aimed to enter into a harmonic dialogue between the Liebeskind towers and the existing urban fabric. Using a similar language to mediate with the more sober architecture of the station and its surroundings. The height we have chosen is also mediating between both types of buildings. We have preferred to play a rather modest role rather than making another bold claim. We think that what the area needs is a unifying aesthetic which will enable to read the whole area as a consistent whole.

A flexible typology

Our proposal is based on the idea of the city as a collection of flexible containers, indifferent to land use and primarily determined by density and massing considerations in respect to their surroundings.  The containers have been deployed in relation to the available land and the height of the neighboring structures.

The height of the different blocks depends on the ideal density for every site surrounding the station. We have placed the taller residential blocks towards the south of Rautatienkatu, closer to the new residential areas planned around the new Arena. The primarily commercial volumes along Rautatienkatu are located closer to the new Station Square, and closer to the perpendicular axis of Hämeenkatu, both on the West and the East of the tracks, where the new bus terminal has been located.

All the vertical urban containers are sitting on a two-storey socle, which acts as an urban interface for the towers. The socle provides access into the towers while connecting them to each other and to other functions that relate them. The socles have been designed as new urban retail malls. Particularly the large socle sitting along Rautatienkatu has been designed with an internal double height street which can be experience as an enclosed public space, in connection to the underground connection to the other side of the street.

A multi level city

Our proposal is to develop the level immediately under the tracks as a consistent pedestrian realm around the station area. We have developed a network of connections under the tracks, which is to a large extent pre-existing, but whose retail and service content has been much enhanced. We have defined two underground pathways under the tracks:

The pedestrian walkway on the side on the underground vehicular tunnel on the extension of Hämeenkatu. This is a functional walkway which enables people to cross the tracks when the underground shopping centre is closed. A new loop formed by the pre-existing Northern and Southern corridors which has been expanded to accommodate additional shopping frontage along the whole corridor. These two preexisting branches have been linked on the East and the West with additional connections with active frontage, which form a continuous loop connecting the two alternative platform tunnels with the Station and the new Bus Station. Two large, open-air auditoria, carved on the plaza surface, will link directly with the new underground pedestrian infrastructure, producing a seamless connection between levels.

The two large openings to the underground space have been dimensioned as small open theaters capable to host events and performances. The Station Square will become the new citizen’s living room. On the south side of the Station Square, another open air auditorium / monumental stair will extend the public space to the rooftop of the Rautatiekatu complex, which will become a new open public space with a fantastic vantage perspective over the new Station canopy, producing a pedestrian continuous deck between the Station Plaza and the future Arena.

Competition: Tampere Travel and Service Centre | Team: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Manuel Eijo, Iñigo Arrien, Pablo de Sola; | Consultant: WSP Finland: Terhi Tikkanen-Lindström, Björn Silfverberg; CBRE | Post date: 02/10/2014 | Views: 3.254