Pohjola Housing – Urban Planning

Location: Helsinki, Finland
Function: Housing, Urban square
Status: 2014 -, Competition 1st Prize
Client: SRV Yhtiöt Oyj
Scope: Adaptive reuse, Architecture, Urban development

Pohjola Housing – a concept of a new functional model for a hybrid block solution that preserves the values of the iconic Pohjola office building, but also builds a new identity for the area.

The 1960s landmark of western Helsinki – the 11-storey A-Tower and its surrounding plinth – when completed became a representation of expressive system design and Finland’s fanciest and biggest office building. In 2015, the building was vacated when Pohjola moved to its new headquarters designed by JKMM. Today the Pohjola block is revivified to serve new users and functions.  

JKMM’s development plan for the area is based on the winning entry in an invited architectural competition organized in 2014. According to the original plan, the open urban space is compacted, and the A-Tower preserved as a landmark and central building for offices and service functions. Seven 8–16-storey residential tower blocks are planned around A-Tower, creating peaceful courtyards.

Strong principle of the block was to link all the buildings together underneath the decks. The 4-storey lamella blocks protect the yard from traffic noise and emissions from the nearby streets and highway. Removal of the existing building units improves the conditions and creates connections to lively neighbourhoods and well-kept park.

The concept of Pohjola Housing represents the recent heritage of modernist architecture. The central features of the architecture and functions are defined by the assessment of the effects of preservation, demolition and new construction.

© Hannu Rytky
Early principle sketch © JKMM
Early sketch of the area © JKMM
© Hannu Rytky

More about the Pohjola housing project >

© Hannu Rytky
© Hannu Rytky
© Hannu Rytky