Eko-Viikki, Ecological Experimental Housing, Helsinki
- Kirsti Sivén & Asko Takala
Helsinki, Finland, 2004
Helsinki has experimented sustainability-oriented residential solutions in the Eko-Viikki housing area.
The four housing company units Ahomansikka, Niittyleinikki, Auringonkukka and Valkoapila build up a residential quarter that was developed as a part of a public Design & Construction Competition together with the Finnish construction company Skanska.
All proposed technical innovations and solutions were not fully realised due to the rather strict financial limits. After various different studies remain the residents' will and the architecture that can easily adjust to everyday ecological choices and way of life.
Energy is saved and conserved by passive means: the orientation of the houses, the facade openings, and sheltering glazed balcony zones, which take advantage of the heat and light of the low sunshine during the colder seasons. Some of the buildings are equipped with solar panels.
Social aspects are also important. There are communal saunas and domestic utility rooms and small garden allotments. The apartments were also provided with private sauna options, but the residents preferred common facilities.
The warm-coloured wood architecture of the low-rise units is precise, classical and even rigid. It is meant to form a backdrop for gardens and greenery. The perimeters of the yards are defined by outbuildings comprising communal laundry facilities and saunas that can be heated with electricity or wood.
The middle unit was presented in the 0405 Exhibition in the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The jury wrote on Ahomansikka housing in the catalogue: "The Ahomansikka residential group is located in the experimental area of ecological building in Viikki. In its fragmented environment it forms a compact whole, which is simultaneously urban and intimate. The architecture is pleasingly individual but classic in its simplicity. Central elements in the facades and interiors are partially heated terraced, which provide bumper zones, contributing to the ecological weight of the block. The flats are pleasant and easily furnished, which has been achieved with small but significant means."