Kalasatama park is located in an old harbor area turned into a new densely built residential area. Houses, services and the park have been constructed side by side. Kalasatama park is the only recreational, activity and event park nearby and it forms together with English square the main public spaces of the district.
The project creates a new identity for the outdoor spaces of Kalasatama area. The design concept of the park is inspired by the local history of the site as an archipelago and the last 100 years as a harbor. On the other hand the city scale of new neighborhood with high-rise buildings gave an inspiring challenge for the design. Both the park and the square create a large landscape architectural entity that has the same spatial and design principals. Old harbor structures of the site are preserved as reminiscences of the history. The yellow color of the old harbor structures is used in details, structures and asphalt paintings of the park.
The park space opens towards the sea and the city center of Helsinki. The park is founded on a flat landfill area. The new topography is reformed sculpturally into large undulating ‘waves’ to remind of the sea that has been there once. Large lawn surfaces are gently sloped on the edges of the park to form pleasant spaces and to shelter from surrounding streets and winds. Slopes direct storm waters towards a longitudinal retention basin. In the northern part of the park the topography is hiding infrastructures like district heating maintenance channel underground. On top of the highest hill is a wooden platform for enjoying great views over the park and cityscape.
Vegetation of the area is used in longitudinal stripes to emphasize the undulating effect. The main elements of the vegetation are large bush areas. Steeper edges of the slopes on the street sides are planted with evergreen species and the top of the knolls are covered with pine trees. Several Alnus-species and different Salix- species are used on the side of the storm water basin. Perennials and different hay species enrich the selection.
Large steel structured gate luminaires along the main pathway create a backbone for the park. Six meters high and eight meters wide structures form the only vertical elements in the open park space before planted trees are taller. The gates also frame views to the cityscape.
There was a need for large open outdoor spaces where large number of people can gather. For that reason the central parts of the park are left open without trees and lawn and asphalt is used in a big scale. The primary school and the kindergarten beside the park use the park activities as their extensional yard. Playfield next to the school can be used as an ice rink in the winter.
Next to the sea there is an event square which is identified by tilted plateaus and old harbor structure from the bottom of the sea. A renovated lighting mast with yellow fence is a recognizable landmark that can be seen from far. Asphalt surfaces of the square are repeating the same undulating theme of the park with small knolls. Painted stripes encourage to move and use space creatively.
The park provides an inspiring playground and an outdoor fitness area. Big trees are planted in irregular order to create shade and canopy for the playground. There is also a grill place with tables and benches with great views. In the future the park complex completes with a residential house with a kiosk, a café, terraces and a multifunctional hall.
Infrastructure and construction planning: Sitowise Ltd
Lighting design: Lighting Design Collective Ltd, Licon-At Ltd (electrical design)
Project location: Finland / Helsinki / Kalasatama
Year built: 1st phase 2015-2016, 2nd phase 2017, 3rd phase 2019-2020, 4th phase estimated 2021
Client: Urban Environment Division, City of Helsinki
Area: 2,5 hectares