Client: The Train Factory Group
Status: Competition (2022)
Clasification: 1 prize
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Coordinates: 60.192991, 24.947769
Climate: Continental, Temperate
Materials: Brick, Glass, Vegetal, Wood
Scale: 45.000 ㎡ Large
Types: Commercial, Hotel, Housing, Mall, Masterplan, Office, Office building, Public space, Residential
MASSLAB + AFRY Ark Studio won the Finnish Train Factory Mixed-Use Competition intending to develop a new urban landmark for the Pasila machine shop area in Helsinki. The proposal was selected from among five entries in an international competition that took place in two separate selection phases, hosted by the Train Factory Group and Helsinki Municipality. The former electric train building was transformed into a 45,000 sqm office, retail, and hotel building and reimagined as a part of the social, commercial, and cultural hub in historical heritage.
The new Train Factory area should be for everyone – a mixed-use neighborhood that accommodates a system of paths, parks, plazas, and open spaces that encourages people to spend more time outdoors, together. A place where there is space for both an active life and a quiet retreat. A new tiny forest combined with a thriving multi-level public space will become a destination in the city, inviting visitors with a full offering of cultural life, sports, and leisure activities.
The design proposal went above and beyond to materialize an apparently impossible proposal. Opting for an unconventional form permitted a cost-efficient building, suited for everchanging needs. The wood at ground level, part of the Finnish ethos, invites us to move and participate in urban life. The brick is a continuous dialogue with the surroundings. As for the glass top, it dissolves the building into the landscape of Helsinki. This makes these options both evident and irreverent. A rather closed area can become a new nucleus for urban renewal and reinvention. Reimagining landscape and cityscape as one offers a step forward as we try to reinvent social norms and daily life.
Based on previous successful partnerships between the studios, the team led by MASSLAB ensured creative experience, as well as the necessary local insights and technical expertise from AFRY Ark Studio, to deliver a contemporary and fresh approach to the project. Among the competition entries were other top architectural offices worldwide like Cobe + Schauman & Nordgren Architects, Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki; Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen, and Tommila Architects & Kaleidoscope Architectural & Urban Design.
The vision for the Train Factory area will enhance and build upon the rich cultural heritage of the area, which hosts relevant historical buildings and large public spaces. A strategy based on a unique blend of special cultural heritage and forward-thinking solutions, where the ambition is to set an example that contributes to the sustainable aspirations of the municipality and benefits everyone in the city by generating a variety of public spaces that can be used all year around.