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Innovative ideas and new trends from Europe

This year, five study trips have been arranged during which we have, together with our customers and cooperation partners, learnt comprehensively about urban planning, commercial projects, housing trends, and road tunnels in various parts of Europe.

Image: Shopping centre Liverpool ONE

Members of the PoPa project (development of northern Pasila) visited the newest shopping centres in Liverpool and London in February. In Liverpool, we visited Liverpool ONE that was completed in 2008 in the very centre of the city. It is the largest shopping centre in England (170,000 m2) that is based on exterior space. It consists of pedestrian streets (on three floors at best) to which the business premises open up. The use of exterior spaces in shopping centres was one of the themes of the trip.

In London, we visited Westfield shopping centres in Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford. The latter was completed in the autumn of 2011 next to the Olympic village. Both are based on the use of a warm gallery and a pedestrian zone outside. Other locations were One New Change designed by Jean Nouvel that is located next to St. Paul’s Cathedral and London Designer Outlet that has just been completed next to the Wembley stadium.

Ecological and broad-minded architecture in Lyon

2014_Lyon_Confluence_560x320 Kalasatama project’s traditional study trip took place in May in Lyon. The main target of the trip was the area of la Confluence. It is an area of around 150 hectares as an extension to the city centre that was previously used as an industrial, storage and wholesale market area, and that is now a construction site for residential and office buildings. The area will host around 16,000 residents and 25,000 jobs. Work started in 2003 and about half of the area is almost completed. Ecological and broad-minded architecture is emphasised in the construction of the area. The public transport in the area is based on new tram traffic.

Other points of interest during the trip were urban planning in the city of Lyon, squares in the centre of Lyon and parking facilities constructed underneath them, and the market hall called Les Halles Lyon Paul Bocuse.

Image: Lyon, initial city blocks in Confluence

Urban planning in the Netherlands

2014_Rotterdamin_aseman_pyoraparkin_sisaankaynti_560x320Sito’s traditional urban planning study trip took place in September in the Netherlands. The main themes of the trip were new urban planning, architecture and cycling. In Rotterdam, our hotel was in the De Rotterdam complex with three towers that was completed recently and designed by Dutch architects from OMA. We visited OMA’s premises, a market hall that was just about to be completed inside a curved residential building consisting of 11 floors, and a renewed main railway station and its superfine bicycle parking facility.

In Hague, architect Marja Straver-Nevalainen presented the renewal of the city centre, which includes a railway tunnel, a parking facility on two levels above the tunnel, and a pedestrian zone on the top level. Cycling expert Erik Tetteroo talked about cycling practices and the development of cycling in the Netherlands and presented cycling arrangements in the centre of Hague.

In Almere, we visited the new centre of the city of which the general plan has been prepared by OMA. Many famous international architects have participated in the design of the buildings in the centre. We also visited Homerus Kwartier in Almere Poort, where city villas of various styles can be constructed freely, and the area of De Realitet, where ideal residential buildings have been constructed that were originally meant as temporary constructions but due to their speciality remained as permanent housing.

In Amsterdam, we visited the residential neighbourhood of IJburg that has been constructed on an artificial island. We also visited Bentham Crouwell architectural company that has designed the central railway station in Rotterdam and the extension of Stedejlik Museum that resembles a bath. After all the modern top architecture, the last location of the trip was the area of Amsterdam-Noord, where an old storage area of the harbour has been taken into temporary use for creative operations in an interesting way.

Image: Entrance to the bicycle parking facility at Rotterdam station

Housing trends in Copenhagen

2014_Kopis_Kahdeksikkotalo_Orestadissa_560x320In September, we acquainted ourselves with housing trends together with YIT in Copenhagen as guests of the architectural office BIG. We visited residential buildings designed by them in Örestad. All of the locations (8-House, VM Houses and The Mountain) represented a new kind of thinking and impressive architecture. However, in terms of their costs, they represented regular production. We also visited the swimming pool in the harbour and Superkilen park that have also been designed by BIG as locations that improve the quality of the urban environment and make the area more comfortable to live in. We visited an organisation called By og Havn that develops Örestad and former harbour areas, and the construction site of the most expensive residential buildings in Krøyser Plads, in Copenhagen.

Image: 8-House in Örestad

Roads and tunnels in Germany and France

2014_vt12_Croix-Rousse_tunneli_Lyon_560x320Members of the project on a southern bypass of Highway 12 in Lahti went on a study trip to Munich and Lyon in October. In Munich, we learnt about the design and construction of the middle ring road in the city centre (Mittlerer Ring). We had a chance to visit Richard Strau? tunnel as it was undergoing decoration. In Munich, we had lunch at the magnificent BMW Weldt designed by an Austrian architectural company Coop Himmelb(l)au. In Lyon, we visited the eastern bypass that serves national traffic (Rocade Est) and the tunnels of the ring road that serves the internal traffic of the city (Boulevard Pheripherique Nord). We also had a chance to see a very interesting new construction, that is, a 1.8 kilometres long Croix-Rousse tunnel that serves only cyclists, pedestrians and bus traffic. Besides tunnels and ring roads, we visited the transport centre Gare de Vaise and parking facilities in the Lyon city centre, and learnt about the development of the Confluence area.

Image: Croix-Rousse tunnel in Lyon

Text: Seppo Karppinen