The Junatie Road is a Crucial Part of East Helsinki’s Future Development
The Junatie road area has been the gateway to eastern Helsinki since the mid-19th century. Freight trains from Sörnäinen harbor, the Kuulosaari ferry-train connection, vehicles along the Kulosaari Bridge and finally metro trains between the city proper and the eastern suburbs – all have passed through it.
Vehicular and metro traffic is currently passing through the Junatie road area, but from the point of view of pedestrians on one side and urbanism on the other, it is a very difficult spaceto navigate. The area, originally located on the edge of city proper, has been squeezed bygrowing urban centers; a fracture, if you will, that cuts through their urban fabric. The Junatie area that lies between Suvilahti and Teurastamo districts on one side and the districts of Kalasatama and Kallio on the other side, makes it a decisive part of the future of East Helsinki.
Objectives of our Proposal
Based on the functional and network analysis of the Junatie area, we based our ideas on four objectives:
1. Clarification of area’s transport and traffic routes without compromising the transportation efficiency and capability.
2. Creation of a metropolitan urban spaces for the competition area.
3. Linking the existing neighborhoods more closely together.
4. Increasing green and living spaces for the city residents.
Human-scale Surface Materials Giving Space to Nature and Water
In our proposal, the portion of vehicular traffic flowing in the east-south direction has been raised to a different level so that all other transportation join points and modes can be solved on the level of city connections and thus create both a functioning public transport hub, new pedestrian space and new potential for land use in the Suvilahti area.
In addition to the new land use, the infrastructure is a part of the entire street space of the area: the new car bridge will be integrated into the area with a robust design and surface treatment that creates an inspiring and pleasing visual experience instead of just limiting ourselves the traditional solutions for constructing a bridge. The canopies of public transportstops repeat the design language of the bridge like a refrain, which, together with the bridge, creates a clear identity and brings the cladding materials of the traffic areas closer to the world of experience. The totality of street zone is completed by a variety of human-scale surface materials that give space to nature and water.
Linking of Suvilahti and Teurastamo Will Improve the Synergy ofArea’s Events and Functionality
Teurastamo and Suvilahti areas are centrally located and attractive leisure destinations. Our plan proposal will improve the connection of pedestrian traffic networks between these two areas, which will in turn help to create advantageous synergies between different events and activities. Giving public transport a more central role, improving quality of urban space and the increase of green areas open to all will also bring added vitality and invigorate the Kalasatama downtown area.
Connecting the Green Areas and Green Initiatives
Joining Dallapenpuisto park, Kalasatamanpuisto park and Mustikkamaa will create one continuous green area. In the west, Kinaporinkatu street will also become part of this newpark area. At the Junatie road junction, the green flow consists of the green residential streets of both Lautatarhankatu street and Pääskylänrinne street. The open street spaces between Suvilahti and Teurastamo conjoin the existing event areas into one whole. Under the metro line bridge there is an area dedicated to sports activities that offer e.g. wall climbing, parkour and biking. Through the Suvilahti event area, the green connection area moves further away from the din of traffic and hooks up with the green areas of Kalasatama.
A lot of stormwater collects on the street surfaces of the proposal area. The role of the green connection as a network-like aggregator and the user of stormwater is quite significant. From carriageways and other impermeable surfaces, The collected rainwater is led to staggered depressions and raingardens and to the ground to be absorbed. The entire tram rails area is one big permeable green surface. In the vicinity of Suvilahti, the permeable tiling and raingardens intersect with each other and with a central stormwater system. The intersection of the railway and Sörnäinenranta road is at the lowest level of the area being planned. When constructing the intersection area, it is possible to install an underground structure for stormwater harvesting, which would also help to balance the area’s water managementeconomy.
The view axis that starts from the Hämeentie bridge and looks onto the valley in which lies Junatie road is important and will be preserved. Culturally and historically significant views are framed by groups of trees placed at the edges of the street space. The import of the grain warehouse as an area’s landmark is emphasized by a multifunctional flowering field createdin front of it. The removal of the Junatie’s embankment will not only enable new north-south transport connections, but will also open up a new kind of visual connection between the Sörnäinen and Hermann city districts.
The vegetation in our proposal creates a very diverse and vivid space, from multi-layered oases to green frame columns and open meadows. Although the purposeful management of stormwater for the use of planted area’s upkeep improves the conditions for plants’ growth, the area should give priority to climate-resistant wild plants that are more resistant and moreable to adapt to the sometimes challenging weather conditions. Plant selection respects theregion’s industrial history, which is evident in, for example, a variety of wild, untended plantsof open areas.
1st place to our competition proposal for the “Crossroads /Junatie Road” – from the fairway environment to an urban space – in the invitation competition, 2019.
Location: Junatie Road area, Sörnäinen, Helsinki
Size: A conceptual plan for urban spaces, traffic and land use as a basis for the master plan
Other L Architects’ competition team members: WSP Finland Oy (traffic planning), Nomaji landscape architects Oy (landscape architecture) and OLA Design Oy (3D rendering).