Helsinki to Transform South Harbour’s Makasiiniranta
Helsinki South Harbour MakasiinirantaDezeen

Helsinki to Transform South Harbour’s Makasiiniranta

The City of Helsinki announced a competition that invites proposals for the redevelopment of Makasiiniranta at South Harbour, the last old harbour area to

The City of Helsinki announced a competition that invites proposals for the redevelopment of Makasiiniranta at South Harbour, the last old harbour area to be transformed for public use in Helsinki. The initial period for participant enrolment, intended for operators in the construction, architecture and real estate industry,- covers a six week timeframe, open until 21 June 2021, with the inclusion of a new site for the design and architecture museum as a vital aspect of the land use plan along the city’s shoreline.

Competition timeline:

  1. Launch: Development consortiums which have the technical, economic and functional experience to plan and implement a demanding and high-quality construction project are invited to register for the competition by 21 June.

  2. Phase 1: Approved participants will submit a plan for the area as a competition entry under a pseudonym by December 2021. Entries will be placed on public display.

  3. Phase 2: A selection of the four best entries will be chosen in early 2022 as evaluated by the multidisciplinary panel. In the second phase competitors will prepare a further developed planning entry.

  4. Result: The winner will be announced in autumn 2022, to be granted a development reservation for further planning of the project.

South Harbour is a central part of Helsinki’s maritime and national landscape, and a valuable yet under-utilised asset for the city. In a culture in which every Helsinkian lives less than 10 kilometres from the sea, the harbour mentality is a crucial characteristic and benefit of life in the city, with access to the water credited as vitally significant for the population’s identity, wellbeing and vibrant lifestyle. The designated development area of over 83,000 sq m of waterfront land is currently used for the Port’s terminal operations and parking, which is to be relocated from the city centre.

The launch of the design competition to develop Makasiiniranta at South Harbour comes at a crucial time for global cities emerging from the pandemic as urban planners are challenged to strategically reimagine how public space will be best designed and utilised in the future, with a newly-informed appreciation for the health effects of green and blue areas.

Helsinki’s existing relationship to liveable design is at the forefront of public services, urban environments, cultural spaces and the empowerment of communities, underpinned by a significant commitment to realising a sustainable urban structure and becoming carbon neutral by 2035. For an area of national significance and value for Helsinki, it is imperative that a land use plan for Makasiiniranta activates and enlivens the seafront, creating high-quality attractive new public realm, cultural amenities and architectural layers, while better integrating into the pedestrianised city centre’s urban fabric and overall vision.

Intended as a new cultural heart of Helsinki, competition plans are to allow for the creation of an internationally prominent architecture and design museum complex, which will merge the two existing museums - the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum - across an area tentatively set to 9,000 sq m. Further leisure uses may also be planned for the waterfront destination, including a hotel, retail space, restaurants and walkable public realm.

The Makasiiniranta competition is being led by the City of Helsinki, with a multidisciplinary evaluation jury consisting of governmental representatives and impartial design experts, including Kees Christiaanse of KCAP. Within the first phase of the competition, entrants will submit a plan by December 2021, which will be considered by the panel before a shortlist of the four best competitors will be invited as the second phase to prepare a full project masterplan by June 2022.

The winning design and implementation plan will be announced in autumn 2022, with the successful development and architecture consortium then responsible for the functional, economic and technical realisation of the concept in the subsequent years. A separate architecture competition for the design and architecture museum will be launched following the selection of a development partner to transform Makasiiniranta.

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