HELSINKI JÄTKÄSAARI ON A FREEZING, WINDY DAY
A couple of days ago I went for a longish walk in the Helsinki Jätkäsaari area. The aim of my walk was to have a look at what is new in this new part of Helsinki, now heavily still under construction. A while ago I have stayed at the rather new Hotel Clarion, owned by a Norwegian hotel investor. What I liked best, was a dip into the 16th floor heated pool, located in the the freezing cold roof terrace.
I also enjoyed the view from my room and the transparent middle part, where the landscape elevators are placed. There will later be an article by me about the hotel, in archi.ru.
Jätkäsaari is also known for its passenger ship harbour. A new and more efficiently functioning terminal building will soon be opened.
What puzzled me was the strange mixture of dark and hard-looking apartment buildings, some really flashy but some also painted with strange colours. Many of the houses seemed to be shouting for attention – and some, in contrast, seemed to want to look as unfriendly as possible and harbour-area cool. In places, the outer appearance of the streets was somehow very dark and unfriendly.
It is not fair to write criticism about an area where there are no parks yet. I saw lots of trucks and construction site vechiles, and some real people. That is: Jätkäsaari new inhabitants. A lot of buildings are already occupied by new owners or tenants, and some of the houses are price-controlled. The pricing is really high, as Helsinki builds so little they the price niveau has reached incredible levels. There is no functioning market as long as the demand is relatively higher then what is put to the market.
There also is a new ”Wood City” already under construction, as well as a new school building, by Anttinen Oiva Architects.
When I entered from the tram 9 stop in front of a big web store building (Called Verkkokauppa) and walked towards the snakelike meandering yet unplanted park, I had the feeling of being somewhere in Outer Mongolia. Surprisingly, the first building that I faced, seemed to be a product by one of the best architecture studios that I know in Finland, JKMM. On the park side it looked very brutal but then there is a courtyard built with light coloured bricks.
Here is an image from the courtyard side.
One building that already also has some inhabitants is a student housing project by Playa Architects, but even there the courtyard was still undone. It is an example of the now fashionable and rigid ”coin slot” architecture. I must still visit the building and also have a look at its common spaces. There is another student housing unit still under construction, and designed by a highly experienced architecture practise Brunow & Maunula.
Here is an image of the inner courtyard of the already finished part of the block.
I will not yet write any more precise comments, and will soon make a special tour together with my colleague Asko Takala from Sivén Takala Architects, to see how Helsinki builds its new, horribly expensive housing – as far as the pricing goes. Then my readers will also get a better picture of what is going on in our capital and its former harbour or oil tank harbour areas.
The unbuilt area in the image below is later supposed to become a park. Typical for Jätkäsaari housing are the funny looking ”kiosks” or smaller houses on top of six floor – apartment buildings.