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Medal Winner 2013

Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall

Part 1 Project 2013
Ness Lafoy
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) | UK
The Archipelago around Helsinki is dotted with tiny pine covered islands, many inhabited by just one or two households. Altogether there are 455 islands in the Finnish Archipelago, which are home to over 50,000 people.

Most of the inhabitants live without transport links to the mainland and many islands lack telephone lines or internet connection. Therefore in recent years there has been an influx of islanders moving back to the mainland. The Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall aims to become a mainland hub for islanders, providing a warm clubhouse and accommodation for overnight trips to Helsinki. It also aims to improve connections between the mainland and the archipelago by introducing a postal service to remote islands and providing a place for the Island Council to meet so that they can begin to improve transport links and promote the archipelago on to ensure it is not forgotten.

Many of the homes found in the Finnish Archipelago are traditional Finnish farm houses, which are typically timber framed, pitched roof dwellings often clad in painted wooden slats and shingles. The houses are built around a central double height space known as the Tupa. The Tupa is generally dominated by a large fireplace and is the centre of a traditional Finnish Farmhouse. The double height, warm, communal space created by a Tupa and the fractured landscape around Helsinki are driving forces in the design of the Archipelago Town Hall.

The town hall spreads itself out across Helsinki Central Harbour, mimicking the fractured landscape of the Archipelago. The main clubhouse and sorting office building sits on the harbour’s edge and platforms extend into the bay providing additional public space in the harbour. These platforms can be used for cultural and political events run by the Island Council and by the City of Helsinki. The floating accommodation units are positioned around these platforms and are accessed via floating pontoons. At the furthest point lies the Council Chamber, which looks out to the mouth of the harbour and towards the Archipelago.

Ness Lafoy

Ben Addy
Mr Rhys Cannon
• Page Hits: 66619         • Entry Date: 13 September 2013         • Last Update: 04 December 2013