Finnish design team, ALA Architects has shared with us their latest commission, a mixed use project in Helsinki, Cloud City. Seeking to take advantage of available space within the urban core, this unique project brings density to a underutilized courtyard within a large existing factory block. Additional images, including a full set of detailed floor plans and a description by the architects after the break.
Helsinki is currently developing new sustainable methods for building the city. Primarily these projects aim at increasing density at the expense of urban sprawl. One question is how to make existing built areas denser, another where and how to build high risers. The Cloud City project is one possible answer.
This project aims at increasing diversity in the central design quarters of Punavuori. As its site, it uses the large courtyard of the 1930’s Nokia cable factory block, Merikortteli. It aims at combining a single family house typology with central location and high rise views. This is achieved by using an office tower to elevate the residential building above the surrounding ridge line. The building is literally two different architectures piled on top of each other. These two identities are never present simultaneously so they can be completely optimized for their own use and conditions. Both sections have adopted a type of camouflage relating to their specific situations.
The lower office section has a façade literally reflecting the surrounding brick walls, becoming a distorted reflection of its container. Its form and reflective facade direct additional light into the yard in the winter, while in the summer it provides shade against overheating.
The apartments above are made up of one room sized units, creating a small scale, detached house feel. The private terraces and greenhouses give a sense of having your own garden. Each apartment has magnificent views to the sea and across central Helsinki. On the city scale the pixelated shape, lined by reflective glass railings and conservatories, makes the building blend into the skyline.
The courtyard will be built into a lush green garden, which receives its sunlight evened out by the reflective façade of the new office building. The ground level contains public functions, spilling out through the large arcades.
Above the ridgeline Cloud City has recreated the intimate scale of the old wooden houses which used to inhabit the site, whilst renewing the courtyard below into a surreal playground for the design district.
Architect: ALA Architects
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Name: Cloud City
Status: In progress
Program: 3,500 m² Housing on 4 500 m² Offices with 500 m² Public and 2, 000 m² Support
Client: ING Real Estate Investment Management
Team: Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta, Samuli Woolston with Julius Kekoni, Pekka Tainio, Jan Galecky, Ossi Konttinen, Petra Grisova and model maker Klaus Stolt
Collaborators: Saraco / Mikko Kaartinen, Aaro Kohonen Oy / Teuvo Meriläinen, Insinööritoimisto Olof Granlund Oy / Paavo Tikkanen, Insinööritoimisto Olof Granlund Oy / Erkki Finni, Insinööritoimisto Severi Anttonen Ky / Severi Anttonen, L2 / Jukka Laine