Kruunuvuorenranta housing area is being contructed opposite to Helsinki city core. By 2030, the area will house some 13,000 residents. The area will have an urban character while it is surrounded by untouched nature. The new neighbourhood is equipped with a pipeline-based automated waste collection system, and the task was to design the main unit for the system housing the containers and technology. As the plot is located in the middle of a new residential area, Helsinki City Planning Department set goals for high-quality architecture and a an environmentally friendly and uniting building solution with minimum disturbance to the residential area.
The site reserved for the waste collection station was tight and challenging, comprising of a steep cliff, the surface of which had been damaged over a large area during construction of the neighbouring underground facilities. To minimize further quarrying, all the waste management facilities and technology were placed in one building with a compact floor plan, carefully fitted into the irregular geography of the cliffside hiding the man-made scars on the rock. For safety reasons, the outdoor area was planned so that truck logistics can occur on the plot. The courtyard walls were designed as an essential part of the architecture to form a uniform overall design. Except for waste container pick-up approximately twice a day, the system operates automatically and the building is unoccupied.
The building's façades are made from concrete, in order to make the complex and edgy shapes of the three-dimensional details possible. The three-dimensional concrete element casting method was innovated and developed during the project, uniting visual creativity and concrete casting technology. The innovative solution is cost-efficient without compromising the cityscape, utilising the design and art possibilites of the selected material in a contemporary way.
The inspiration for the pattern on the façades is the natural growth of lichen on the neighbouring rock formation, a fascinating continuous but ever-changing pattern of light and dark surfaces. The structure of lichen was vectorised into triangular patterns casted in concrete elements. The impression of lichen growth is created by using only a few different basic elements of different patterns, all of them the same size and form. The selection and positioning of the elements is based on the surface shapes and shades of light and shadow rather than different colors. The solution to the desired reddish-brown tone of the concrete surface was umbra color patination, created by artist Pertti Kukkonen. The patination treatment was carried out on site by the artist to make large continuous tone areas also covering the joints of the elements.
The building’s façades are designed so that the room heat does not rise unnecessarily due to sun light, and as displaying the technical functions towards the living area was not desirable. Anyway, there is plenty of natural light inside the building coming through the sectional glass doors. The building is equipped with a green roof, as there are direct views from several apartments.
B & M Architects was established in 1992 by architects Daniel Bruun and Jussi Murole with a stream of international large scale urban and building design projects. The office has operated internationally on the whole scene of architecture. The office has projects in 17 countries and prizes in more than 30 architectural competitions. The office portfolio covers projects from large-scale urban planning to the smallest of details, including whole city districts and blocks, commercial and office buildings, housing, traffic terminals and urban landscapes.
The strength of B&M Architects’ design team is the solid knowhow on both urban and building design – each project is considered from both perspectives. B&M Architects’ design approach is based on cultural, social and ecological values. We believe in practical beauty and functional solutions and want to collaborate with our clients in order to create sustainable environment for good life.