Skanssi Area Centre

Turku, Finland
Photo © Kari Palsila
Helin & Co Architects
Turku, Finland
Hartela Oy
Helin & Co Architects, Pekka Helin, Hanna Euro, Satu Jaatinen, Seija Ekholm, Anne Jylhä

The project for the Skanssi district centre started after a design-build competition organised by the City of Turku in 2003. In order to improve the service structure of the new Skanssi neighbourhood that was being detail planned and simultaneously of the whole eastern city, a block area had been reserved in the component master plan for urban centre functions situated along good transport routes and near new workplace areas.

Our winning entry of the two-stage competition proposed interlocking residential blocks of small-scale volumes and a district centre anchored at the foot of a hill (Skanssinmäki) at the northern side of the area. In the middle of these, a network of green zones with playing fields, water motifs and parks links the blocks together.

The actual design phase was preceded by a period of brainstorming, when the concept was appraised together with experts of diverse fields open-mindedly and looking towards the future. We wanted to get a grip of how consumer habits are developing. We envisaged forms of dwelling, service distribution and commercial activities that the district centre could at best offer and a new residential area, where a finished, integrated community structure awaits its residents.

The objective was to achieve interesting and varied architecture with human scale. Multiform volumes, broken facade surfaces and a rich use of colours and materials create diversified vistas. The green plants were chosen hoping that they would awake remembrances of the orchards once cultivated in the area. The indoor and outdoor spaces of the district centre intertwine by means of outdoor-like interior piazzas bordered by tables and chairs of cafes and restaurants and continuing through large glass walls.

The shopping corridors are interrupted by a sequence of multiform, diverse and well-lit interior courtyards. Daylight comes in through steel- structured glass roofs, whose triangular panes reflect shadow patterns on the walls on sunny days. They were designed as mesh structures without strongly three-dimensional supports.

1st prize in Design-Build competition

LEED Platinum 2017 certified

Related Projects

  • Shanghai Suhe MixC World
  • Welcome to the Stage!
    Kjellander Sjöberg
  • Hovering Kan-Too – Great Bay Area Center Showroom
    Wutopia Lab
  • Stockwell-Rodríguez Residence
    Belmont Freeman Architects
  • Haunsbergstraße | 1. Preis
    Architektinnen Schremmer.Jell ZT GmbH


Other Projects by Helin & Co Architects

Alberga Area Centre (Music Hall, Regional Library, Commercial Centre)
Espoo, Finland
Finnair Headquarters
Vantaa, Finland
Metsä Pavilion
Tokyo, Japan
Eiranranta Housing
Helsinki, Finland
Villa Krona
Gullkrona Archipelago, Dragsfjärd, Finland