Keilaniemi is historically known as an international business hub in Espoo, Finland. Its skyline, including the first high-rise in Finland, Fortum Tower, is visible from most directions, but most outstanding seen from Helsinki.
Currently the area is facing a great transformation; a new landfill makes way for new housing, a new grand hotel tower is built, and the project also includes a new traffic hub, highway, ringway, a new metro and light rail. The recreational beach promenade is renewed. In the area, there are approximately 7,950 jobs and the number is expected to grow to 11,050 by 2050. Keilaniemi is currently known as a business area, but it will have more services and will have population of 3,000 in the future.
Keilaniemi square forms the neighbourhood heart, and the design reflects the future mixed-use neighbourhood. The square is an atmospheric and active urban space that kick-starts the development and sets a high standard for urban spaces of Keilaniemi.
Elevated from the street level and situated on top of a parking deck, the Keilaniemi square is an active urban space designed for activities such as staying, playing and spontaneous encounters with neighbours or colleagues. The square’s edges form pockets with uplifted planting islands and seating areas ideal for conversations and relaxation, while the centre, highlighted by a striking wooden hill, serves both as a place to stay and for movement. The circular playing area at the centre is perfect for casual and spontaneous ball games and events.
Its proximity to the Baltic Sea intimately ties the character and essence of Keilaniemi Square, while the planting scheme and pavement highlight its unique shapes.
The pavement pattern and vegetation reflect the Finnish archipelago and seek to establish a clear connection with the nearby sea. At ground level, the forms and colours of the grey granite and resilient vegetation mirror the rugged beauty of the bedrock surfaces found in this region. But it’s when you view this square from the surrounding buildings that accentuates the impression of an enchanting archipelago.
As a result, the transformation of Keilaniemi stands as a testament to thoughtful urban planning and design, and it emerges not just as a transformed urban space but as a harmonious blend of history, functionality, and natural beauty.
Landscape Architecture: MASU Planning
Other companies involved in the project:
SARC Architects (Building), Light: LDC (Lighting Design Collective), Art: Jarno Vesa. Client: HGR & YIT Property partners. Constructor: YIT.
Project location: Espoo, Finland
Year completed: 2020
Photo credits: Mika Huisman & MASU Planning