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helsinki south harbour competition

helsinki, finland

2011 . project


architecture . joão teles barbosa in collaboration with

                      bruno barbosa . pedro costa   


Take me to the Water

The idea of port takes us to a scenario of commercial transactions, to a non-place, to an impersonal mechanistic place to which the common citizen has no access.The Helsinki’s South Harbour founded in this idea of exchange of goods will be adapting to the growth of the city. Responding to the different demands that mark the evolution of society. Throughout this development the BARRIER BETWEEN THE CITY AND PORT was GROWING, decreasing the POINTS OF ACCESS TO THE COAST, taking away people from a neuralgicpoint of the city. The launching of the “ Helsinki South Harbour Competition” provides the basis for reflection on this problematic.“Take me to the water” intends to respond to current needs of the city and to, priorities that govern society, intervening way to reinstatement a connection between people and the port. This connection is achieved through a single gesture, which clarifies the different stages of intervention that range from the macro-scale to the micro scale.


With the intervention is intended to establish new relationships between the public and private space both physically and visual. For such we rearrange the private and public parking lots displacing them to an inferior level, allowing a total visualization of the sea shore. The private buildings that were visual barriers give place to a suspended continuous space.The market and the Olympia Terminal, by their symbolic and identitary characteristics, that reinforces the feeling of belonging to the place, allows to integrate the new intervention in a more coherent way.The programmatic distribution is divided in three different kinds of organization. Being that they have the public upper level platform has common denominator.


The platform of “Take me to the water” materializes from a mesh 2.5 meters wide, and pretends to unify all intervention and at the same time gives a human scale to the intervention. These “strips” shape the public space changing their materiality according to the programmatic typology wanted. They can be in concrete, vegetation or water.


This reflection is a single gesture synthesis introducing a new organizational concept to Helsinki’s South Harbour. In a structure that can be seen has dense and massive, reveals subtle and fluid in its appropriation.A place that wants to be more than an passage area but assuming has a leisure space.



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