Nine international groups present competition entries for transforming Helsinki’s South Harbour
The Makasiiniranta area will be part of the pedestrian city centre and the seaside trail around the shores of Helsinki as well as a location for the new Architecture and Design Museum.
10 Jan 2022

Last year, Helsinki City Council announced the Port of Helsinki development programme. It’s based on the centralisation of cruise ferry traffic to and from Tallinn to the West Harbour, allowing the ferries operating to Sweden to be moved from the South Harbour to Katajanokka — and opening up a large area in the Makasiiniranta (South Harbour) for other use. 

In May last year, the city announced the two-phase Makasiiniranta quality and concept competition, intended for both Finnish and international operators, or consortia of operators, in the construction and real estate industry. Now, nine international competition groups have drawn up overall designs, submitted under pseudonyms, in which the city centre and its services are extended to Makasiiniranta. Some of Finland’s largest and most international architects’ offices are involved as well as several well-known international ones.

— Our goal is a memorable and maritime Makasiiniranta, where culture and leisure time are omnipresent, attracting people from near and far. Events, services, and the inviting trail in the maritime landscape contribute to the extension of the city centre to the South Harbour, while also improving the vitality of the area’s businesses, Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki, comments.

The nine entries are now publicly available for viewing and comments by all interested before a jury will make its decision on a maximum of four competitors that will advance for the second phase in March. The jury will focus in particular on the overall design solution and how it fits the landscape of the South Harbour and its values. Attention will also be paid to the cityscape-related quality of the designs, the functionality, and feasibility of the concept, the quality of the pedestrian environment and urban space, and solutions that will promote the implementation of the carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan. Another important thing to consider is the observance of the new Architecture and Design Museum, the Old Market Hall, and the harbour building as components of the whole.

— The level of the competition groups is high even on an international scale. Expectations are equally high — this is a showcase for any operator in the field, and the consortia have certainly done their absolute best in the competition entries. This is not just about creating the maritime façade for Helsinki, but about creating an iconic place and landscape that are meaningful to Finns, says Ville Lehmuskoski, Executive Director of the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division.

The results of the competition will be announced this autumn. The winning group will continue planning the area as partnership planning in collaboration with the city of Helsinki.