Vartiosaari, an island in Helsinki unique for its cultural history and natural landscape will become a versatile, characteristic and densely constructed archipelago neighbourhood offering housing and leisurely activities for the inhabitants of Helsinki. Vartiosaari is part of the summer villa areas of the Helsinki steam boat routes and is listed as a nationally remarkable built cultural environment.
Studio Puisto was commissioned by the City of Helsinki to study different solutions for Vartiosaari. The aim of our design is that the culturally valuable villa area be developed as a part of the housing and leisure areas conserving and protecting the characteristics and values of the landscape, garden culture and architecture of the villas. The most valuable publicly owned villas and gardens will be renovated and opened to the public. Our aim is to create more specific principles for this culturally unique spot to secure the conservation of the environment, landscape and buildings of the area, enabling it to further develop the area into a livelier, more versatile place combining leisure and living.
The proposal highlights a social sustainability and the possibility of a community spirit. The green routes ribboning the area function as pedestrian and bike lanes, as common living spaces and as rainwater collectors. The sheltered block structures create a favorable micro-climate and the significance of smallholding is highlighted in the garden area of the northernmost block filled with berry shrubs and fruit trees. The central block houses the sports fields and the sports hall in addition to a café, whereas a small kindergarten and playing fields have been placed in the southernmost block. The most important everyday services have also been placed in the area.
The top floor of the apartment buildings houses a green room and a roof terrace with its own sauna department. Magnificent views towards the sea open up from the rooftop spaces. The diverse slanted roof forms of the buildings are suitable for collecting solar energy and rainwater. Sustainable materials will be favoured in the buildings. The villa apartment buildings in the inner parts of the housing blocks can be realized using a co-housing method.