Schauman & Nordgren Architects, a Copenhagen and Helsinki based architecture and urban planning studio, was selected as the winner of the two-stage competition, organized by the city of Turku in Finland, to transform a former elderly home site into a new 15.000 m2 housing neighborhood.
Located 2km from the city center, the plot has many natural characteristics. Situated on top of a hill, in a forest habitat, the proposal for the oldest elderly home in Finland is “based on creating diverse living conditions with proximity to nature, well-being and a strong sense of community”. The existing central elderly home will be transformed into a shared courtyard building for the inhabitants, accommodating a shared kitchen, flexible meeting spaces and an event hall.
Surrounded by pine trees and ancient natural rock formations, the housing block aims towards a minimal footprint, respecting the initial approach of the elderly home to preserve the natural site. The forest, not only a backdrop, “introduces a natural, lively and seasonally changing framework for the community to interact with”. In fact, nature will assure the well-being of the development.
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The proposed project introduces diverse community functions to activate its inhabitants. With the creation of versatile and strategically placed common spaces, people are encouraged primarily to interact and to work together in the offered facilities that include workshops, a gym, a library, a kids room, allotment gardens, a sauna, and spa.
In the fact that the site is located so close to the city center of Turku while at the same time being in the middle of the forest, lays a big potential in creating a unique place for an alternative way of living. The new housing block will be established based on the values of the surrounding nature, well-being and strong sense of community. -- Ted Schauman, Co-founder of Schauman & Nordgren Architects
The architects have developed a circular master plan in order to “strengthen the connection to the forest outside the perimeter as well as to the cultivated courtyard landscape in the middle”. The housing block consisting of five floors is modular. Easily converted and arranged, the flexible space generates different apartment sizes and balconies. Finally, wooden facades enhance the integration of the project within its habitat.