Loci

LOCI – Unique space. Human dimension.

A strong atmosphere is the root of everything. The uniqueness of places often serves as a source of inspiration for the design process at LOCI Landscape Architects. We think that unique environments bring value of many kinds to society. Led by Milla Hakari and Pia Kuusiniemi, and founded in 2008, LOCI has 18 employees today. With our wide expertise and a good network of collaborators, we can work on different scales of landscape architecture and with a wide variety of design challenges.

In our designs, we aim to reinforce the spirit of a place, the “genius loci”; that is, the elements and features that emerge from a place. The spirit is in constant change, is formed out of both the physical circumstances and the human impact and is seen from different angles according to its viewer. Analysing the site is always a key part of our design process. A characteristic, comfortable place requires the ability to fit new elements into the old in a brave yet respectful way.

Design philosophy

We believe that many challenges related to climate change, sustainability and social well-being can be solved by good environmental design. With landscape architecture, we can answer these challenges by using our wide expertise, creativity and participatory planning. Our vision is to maintain an innovative and conscious planning approach in the design culture. We aim to influence socially and take an active role in the Finnish Association of Landscape Architects and the Finnish Association of Landscape Industries.

Our design philosophy is based on our key principles: Sustainable design that supports biodiversity and adapts to climate change, and forming the right kind of spirit of the place with good functions and activities so that the structure of the urban city is made whole.

Crystallising the genius loci of the Tikkurilar River: the Åvik River Reed Playground and River Park

The River Reed Playground, officially named Åvik, is placed on a hill and surrounded by beautiful old trees. The theme of the playground comes from the surrounding nature. The cultural history of Tikkurila is also a supporting theme: the key attraction of the park is water play shaped like the River Keravanjoki which flows alongside. The iconic riverside buildings have their miniature versions next to the water play. At the water play, kids can try out how water dams work. The water is pumped groundwater.

Many elements and species of diverse river nature, including reeds, bugs, frogs, mussels as well as spider webs can be found in the Åvik playground. The playground equipment was chosen carefully to match the natural theme. A custom-made steel fence surrounds the playground with its reed inspired design.

The mussel-shaped play mounds bring the underwater world within everyone’s reach! These striped creatures got their form from endangered species of freshwater mussel, the thick-shelled river mussel that lives in Keravanjoki. This species plays an important role in the river ecosystem. The real mussels were picked and relocated downstream to safety before construction began.

Visitors to the river shore will be treated to a variety of new experiences including the ability to sit and dip your toes on the water seating stairs, have a picnic on the new wooden platforms, and admire the view from the viewing deck on the river. The pair of seating stairs that lead to the water have a real connection to the water. The lowest stairs are usually underwater. The stairs offer great views of the river.

Lighting designer: Lighting Design Collective Ltd / Client: City of Vantaa / Design: 2017-2019 / Completion: Phase one 2020 / Photographs: Pyry Kantonen Photography

Greenest of the Green – Bringing biodiversity to the roofs

The green residential block explores the functionality of green areas on apartment building rooftops. The project combines an experimental green roof and green façade design with research. The aim was to use the experimental construction of green infrastructure to examine the feasibility of landscaping on the roofs of blocks of flats. The objective of the project is to investigate how different species are managing in the challenging conditions at the seashore in the Jätkäsaari district and how growing locations and substrates affect the growth. The development team of the project included biologists, horticulturists and sociologists. The study is led by the Fifth Dimension research programme from the University of Helsinki. The architect of the building is Talli Architecture & Design.

The vegetation consists primarily of traditional garden plants and those found in Finnish nature. The study also examines the effects green areas have on urban runoff, energy efficiency and dweller happiness. The information collected in The Greenest of the Green project will help in designing ecologically and socially sustainable nature-based solutions.

Each of the green roofs has its own profile, research set-up and character. The southern topmost terraces are open meadows: biodiversity roofs. They are designed strongly for research purposes and offer habitats for insects. The seventh-floor roofs have fruit gardens and serve as recreational areas adjacent to the sauna facilities. The community room opens onto the kitchen garden where inhabitants can grow their own food and plants. The kitchen garden has multiple cultivation boxes and a large shared greenhouse.

Architect: Talli Architecture and Design / Design: 2014-2017 / Completion: 2017 / Photographs: Pyry Kantonen Photography

A brand-new urban space for the new city blocks of Tripla

The Mall of Tripla, the largest construction project in Finland and the second busiest railway station in Finland, is one of our largest roof deck courtyard designs. The brand-new urban spaces of the three new city blocks had to be designed to fit to the large scale of the buildings. The key design idea was to create a human-scale, open and light, green environment that settles with its form and rhythm into the buildings. The raised planting areas with smooth concrete walls create atmospheric spaces.

The landscape design comprises the housing yard and Fredikanterassi Square, which is the front yard and the main pedestrian walkway between the city blocks and Pasila Bridge. Because of the bridge, the three Tripla blocks are located on a slope and one of the design challenges was the five-metre height difference. Fredikanterassi has several commercial terraces, public spaces and playgrounds, and flexible possibilities to organise events.

The planting is based on a dynamic plant design. Over 100 different species and cultivars offer a variety of planting. The species are being led to develop dynamically in most areas of planting. The plants that can survive the best can take space from others. The green space of the planting areas is maximised. Over 35 per cent of the constructed surface is planted.

Architect: Architects Soini & Horto Ltd / Lighting Design: Ramboll Finland Ltd / Design: 2017-2020 / Completion: 2020 / Photographs: Pyry Kantonen Photography

Climate change adaptation in Kirkkojärvi Flood Park

One of our most interesting climate change adaptation assignments has been the Kirkkojärvi Flood Park, a green oasis in the Espoo river valley. The Espoonjoki floods frequently because of meltwater in the spring and heavy rainfall in the autumn. In addition, climate change has made flooding during the winter more common. Flooding blocks the light transportation routes and playing fields in the riverside area.

The idea of the park is based on the dynamic movement of the water and sculpting the ground. The former lake that was in the area was brought to the landscape as a symbolic, open flood field. The lake returns to the landscape when the river floods.

The flood management was achieved mostly by stabilising and raising critical parts of the riverside route. In this way, the flooding Espoonjoki would stay in its riverbed and the riverside park can be in use most of the time. The figure above and cross-sections below show the procedures undertaken in Kirkkojärvi Park.

The water is the heart of the new recreation area, as well as a challenge in planning. The riverbed was reshaped and planted, and new seating places were added to the riverside. The wooden lookout deck in Kaivomestari Square offers a panoramic view of the river valley. It also hides the big stormwater pipes underneath.

Kirkkojärvi Park also has an important role in raising environmental awareness. The flood management solutions and dynamics of the environmental processes are brought to the attention of park-users by locating information signs and water-level indicator posts along the park path.

Type: Open competition 2004, 1st prize / Design: 2011-2014 / Completion: 2014 / Photographs: Pyry Kantonen Photography Illustrations: LOCI landscape architects

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