In late 1994 the company Julius Tallberg -kiinteistöt Oy arranged a turnkey contract competition for a housing company to be built by Veijarivuori park in the southernmost end of Lauttasaari island in Western Helsinki. Four contractors were invited to the competition; each chose their own design team. By Finnish standards, the site in question was an exceptionally large one for the project to be funded by non-subsided loans. The dwelling program was reasonably flexible, and the quality level was strictly defined. A ceiling price for building costs had been set.

The different needs of dwellers concerning surface areas, number of rooms, level of equipment and styles of living had to be joint. The standard floor plan has been realised as a series of spaces, centred around the stair hall within the frame, which can be divided into four different flats using the column and flab system cast in situ. Spacious balconies with a standard-operated glazing system are situated in the corners of the building thus even the balconies on the Northeast and Northwest corners get their fair share of both morning and evening sun, in each flat, the areas nearest the balcony are laid out in a classic dining-balcony-livingroom scheme.

As a way of regulating the division into flats, the sides of the building were divided into a varying number of rooms. The stair hall is a spacious hall area vertically penetrated by a glass panel-covered light well. An illusion of external space was created by illuminating it at all hours. The light well thrusts through the roof levels to collect light while rendering the area a recognisable, original feature. The roof terraces situated on the highest level of the stair hall, are communal; thus, even those who live beneath the forest line can gain access to the seascape.

The possibilities the structure system allows for different customer situations were presented in the outline plan. A greenery planned roof with colourful stonecrop arrangements covers the terrace house; thus, the views from the dwellings behind are the parking facility.

The roof of the parking facility forms the courtyard level, well adjusted to the surrounding residential courtyards. The courtyard takes the form of a spacious square paved with stone, outlined by maples to be planted in cylinders situated by the pillars. The barbecue canopy which forms the entrance gate is a central meeting place.

The construction started in 1995 and was completed in 1997. Gullichsen Vormala Architects designed the housing development, the principal architect being Timo Vormala.

Source: Finnish Architectural Review 3/1998

Location

Meritähti 2, Helsinki
60.1482257, 24.8867777

Images

Various massings , Meritähti Housing
Various massings , Meritähti Housing (© Reto Halme / MFA)
Elevations of blocks of flats, Meritähti Housing
Elevations of blocks of flats, Meritähti Housing (© Reto Halme / MFA)
Detail of a façade, Meritähti Housing
Detail of a façade, Meritähti Housing (© Reto Halme / MFA)
Apartments opening towards the sea, Meritähti Housing
Apartments opening towards the sea, Meritähti Housing (© Reto Halme / MFA)
Balconies, Meritähti Housing
Balconies, Meritähti Housing (© Reto Halme / MFA)
Example apartment, Meritähti Housing
Example apartment, Meritähti Housing (© Heikki Nieminen / MFA)
Site plan, Meritähti Housing
Site plan, Meritähti Housing (© Gullichsen Vormala Architects)
Floor plans, Meritähti Housing
Floor plans, Meritähti Housing (© Finnish Architectural Review)