OOPEAA receives the 2nd prize in the open architecture competition for the Kankaan Suvanto area in Jyväskylä.
OOPEAA receives the 2nd prize in the open architecture competition for the Kankaan Suvanto area in Jyväskylä. The open architecture competition for the Kankaan Suvanto area sought for an urban planning proposal for developing a new residential neighborhood in the area. The proposal “Nila”, developed by OOPEAA together with tmi Otto Samuli Heinonen, focuses on ecological and social sustainability. As a connective tissue, the proposal Nila mediates between the industrial scale of the historical factory area dating from 1872 with its landmarked buildings and the delicate natural landscape of the Tourujoki riverbanks designated as culturally valuable landscape to the protected. With ample shared spaces both indoors and outdoors, the proposed new area forms an urban village that provides ideal conditions for a shared community of residents to organically take shape. With a varied mix of housing from apartment buildings to townhouses and row houses, the neighborhood provides homes to meet the diverse needs of people in their different stages of life.
Sense of community
The proposed block accommodates a range of different solutions with a variety of apartment types. The simple and clear massing of the buildings leaves plenty of room for individual interpretation and diverse design solutions and material choices. A building with a brick façade may be built with a supporting structure and balconies made of wood, or it can be produced in a more conventional manner with concrete. In the choice of materials, functionality and sustainability have been the key guiding principles. In the design, the strive to create a framework for a socially diverse community has been the leading idea. The combination of buildings of different typologies provides for a range of different types of apartments in the block, complemented with two- or three-story townhouses or row houses.
The block structure in the area is deliberately designed to provide a variety of different kinds of shared spaces to support a sense of community both outdoors as well as indoors on the ground level. The buildings of varying heights are carefully arranged to form a pleasant microclimate in the courtyards with sheltered and comfortable spaces to support the daily life of the community. While the series of connected courtyards creates an atmosphere of safety in the area, it also supports the spontaneous formation of a social network of neighbors in the community. It offers an ideal context for a tight knit community to organically take shape.
Mediating between the private and the public
Inside the block, a series of connected courtyard spaces forms a connective spine running through the neighborhood. Forming a semi-public zone between the buildings, it mediates between the private sphere of the apartments and the more public spaces of the neighborhood. Offering ample opportunities for shared activities, it also leaves room for a sense of privacy. In the proposed plan, a series of connected courtyard spaces is formed between the buildings inside the block. The courtyards each have their own character, and together they form a mediating zone between the private sphere of the apartments and the more public spaces of the neighborhood.
With its sheltered courtyards and ample shared spaces, the area offers ideal conditions for a sense of community to naturally form amongst the residents. There are places for gardening and for gathering together to make barbecues, spaces for the children to play and for people to sit and enjoy fresh air observing the change of seasons in the orchard. There are coniferous trees to bring greenery also in the winter months, and the surfaces and formation on the terrain are carefully designed to help manage the urban runoff water. Small mounds of earth alternating with small dells allow the stormwater to gradually filter into the ground through the lawns and surfaces paved with natural gravel or with slated stone with grass growing in the seams.
A balcony zone running through the buildings forms central element in the architecture of the area. It gives that area an active and lively character. It allows for the life in the apartments to extend out to the semi-public sphere and brings a sense of transparency and introduces an element of the unplanned as part of the architectural appearance of the area. The balconies also provide shading and offer functional diversity to the apartments offering an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and to do some small-scale gardening on one’s own balcony. The block is composed of a multiplicity of individual elements that together form an entity with a human scale.
A flexible foundation for future development
The new residential neighborhood complements the urban structure of the surrounding area. It creates a continuous whole with it while also activating the riverbanks as a vibrant part of the overall experience of the neighborhood. The simple and clear overall approach of the concept accommodates a range of innovative and experimental housing solutions. Leaving room for individual interpretation and diverse design solutions, it allows for flexibility in material choices and a richness in the color palette. In the choice of materials, functionality and sustainability have been the key guiding principles. In the design, the strive to create a framework for a socially diverse community has been the leading idea. The overall image of the area is balanced and calm while the individual buildings stand out creating a sense of identity for the area as a whole and a feeling of uniqueness and identifiability to one’s own home building.
The scale in the new residential area gradually shifts from larger buildings near the factory area and by the main road to smaller townhouses and row houses closer to the river and the older houses and single-family homes from different time periods. A pathway for pedestrians and bicycles lined with greenery circles the area and connecting it to the river. The arrangement creates a flexible foundation for further development. The architecture of the buildings is based on clear and simple shapes combined with pitched roofs. The variations in the typology of buildings with varying heights and colors gives the area a lively and sympathetic character that makes it easily approachable and inviting.