Helsinki Airport Railway Station
Helsinki West Terminal II by PES-Architects is a new passenger terminal complex in the West Harbour area. It is interestingly located at the furthest tip of the pier in Jätkäsaari, a new city district currently under construction. The new terminal was constructed to meet the growth of ferry traffic between Helsinki and Tallinn – today the West Harbour serves up to 7 million yearly passengers.
The terminal was designed specifically to enable faster embarkation and disembarkation. The building is functionally divided into two main parts. Vehicle traffic is at ground level, whereas the waiting lounge is located 10 meters above ground so that there is only a short distance to walk to the ships on either side.
The volume is aerodynamic and sculptural with all functions under one roof. Itis shaped like a three-point star. When proceeding to the escalator leading to the departures level one faces the sea, whereas when one arrives on a ferry the city skyline is visible already from inside the terminal. The importance of the visual connection with the direction of travel has been well understood by the design team. This is noticeable for passengers waiting to board a ferry in the massive high-ceilinged departure hall with a concave panorama window.
The surface materials were chosen for wear resistance so that the building will retain its appearance throughout its lifecycle. The departure hall’s wooden ceiling gives the space a strong character. The main facade materials are glass, massive sea aluminium and concrete. Next to the main entrance, a large canopy of a steel and glass shelters the taxi station.
West Terminal II was selected in the Finnish Architecture Biennial Review 2018. Extract from the jury report:
“Seeing over the Gulf of Finland, the connection with the seascape through the window on platform level enhances the perspective. Space-wise the terminal is a rich building. Going one level up from the entrance, the overall shape, and the quality of the terminal experience makes for an interesting journey. It is a completely contemporary interpretation of its typology. A building that succeeds in architecturally enhancing the moments of departure and arrival.”