|Equipo||Cecilia Pardo, Erendira Tranquilino,Javier Moctezuma,Federico Pepe|
Helsinki -South Harbour
Open ideas international competition
Reclaiming the Waterfront / The city as an archipelago Historically, the South Harbour has played a key role on the industrial development of Helsinki. Over many years the central location of the harbour has determined the character of the area as an infrastructure driven realm whose role has always been that of Helsinki´s door from and to the sea. The strategic position, right in the heart of the historic core, makes the site an ideal ground for port activities as well as a potential active urban space along the shore. As the port infrastructure has taken over the harbour, the great potential of the shore as a lively public open space has been eclipsed. Today, more than two thirds of the waterfront is restricted to public access and its identity belongs more to the passenger’s port than it would to the active core of Helsinki´s city centre. Acknowledging these issues, forces us to take action into reclaiming the waterfront as an active open space. The city centre facade to the sea should be an extension of the public realm, where people can have the best of both the urban and the marine environment, a place where the port activities do not overshadow the public realm, but on the contrary, strengthen the character of the site as a dynamic urban space. Hence, the proposal creates a new framework that consolidates the urban frontages of the surrounding districts and brings back the public character of the waterfront to the citizens. With its almost 180 000 islands, Finland is an unparalleled country of archipelagos and watercourses. When looked from a map, this country reveals a distinct pattern of islands and peninsulas that can be identified at different scales. Helsinki is no exception to this fact; the city is spread across a considerable number of bays and islands creating a characteristic porous profile at its water edge. Today, the South Harbour stands as one of the few areas where this condition is not present; a man-made hard edge defines the limit between water and land reducing the waterfront to the minimum. It hence seems natural to reclaim the waterfront by deconstructing the existing port into a system of interconnected islands that could multiply, as archipelagos do, the length of the waterfront line, ensuring maximum interaction between the marine realm and the public areas on the ground. This structure of distinct, independent elements, allows great flexibility when introducing a programme. One can cluster and connect similar activities, and detach the ones that require more independence, reinforcing their character and strengthening their identity. Water edge settlements have always developed a great synergy between the city and the sea. This duality has been cultivated at different ranges in various places, but their success, frequently relies upon the quality of the urban edge defining the interface with the water. Strengthening the relation between the city structure and the sea means rethinking its border, where the actual line that defines it, becomes a thick porous threshold where various activities can take place. This action, naturally takes place when the waterfront is not restricted to one side and meanders effortless across the urban realm. The resulting urban structure belongs neither to the city nor to the sea; it becomes a whole new district that acts as an interlocking device between the city edge and the sea. The strategy does not try to insert a new iconic element to the new waterfront. Instead, works with specific actions to strengthen the actual elements that have been overshadowed and neglected over time. The proposal is thought as a series of simple but powerful actions, which could reposition the existing urban pieces so that, with the least possible effort, they can acquire a whole new dimension within the city structure. The master plan envisions three precise actions to achieve its goal: bringing active green areas to the water edge, activating the public open spaces along the waterfront and triggering new city related activities within the marine space itself.