Time // 2017


Client // City of Vantaa


Location // Vantaa, Finnland


Status // Competition


Type // Urban Masterplan


Size // 202.000 m²


Project Architect // Paul Clemens Bart, Marvin Bratke

// The Cross at Aviapolis creates a scenic landscape as well as a dynamic center of activity for visitors and residents, appealing to the variety of functions of city life. //



Aviapolis is situated around 8 kilometers north of Helsinki, between Helsinki-Vantaa (HEL) to the north west and the city center of Vaanta to the south-east. Situated in the south eastern region of the Aviapolis frame plan the newly invented urban block proposes a novel and innovative hybridisation of landscape design and developing urban density. Extending the scenographic route through the whole Aviapolis area, the masterplan introduces a large communal valley that serves as meeting point, social center, cultural, recreational and retail development with parks and ammenities as well as a destination for a new school and community building: the Atomi. The central valley contrasts the sloped greens rising from the perimeter towards the community space in the center of the site.

Combining a modern city development with an open and interconnected landscape, that functions on different levels, while ensuring water overflow protection through its unique introduction of topography: On one hand the residential hills and a sloping topography rising towards the nucleus, where new forms of living and working in a park like surrounding are fostered. On the other hand the cultural valley, where communal areas, entertainment, urban farming, ponds commercial stores and schools are merged into one unqiue experience.

Throughout the central passage, the cross, there are orchestrated moments of spontaneity that arise as the various functions – and the activities that these functions promote – are found along the route.

Layers are stacked and split to reveal a dynamic combination of open walkways, expansive green spaces in the center, hiking paths and urban farms, which are protected by a parametric layout of the building plan that densifies towards the perimeter and allows for a very private, but loosely and open residential layout in the form of town villas towards the center. The functions of the buildings orient working towards the perimeter and residential and leisure activities towards the center of the sloped landscape park.

The central valley marks a cultural cut and introduced a lowered level, like an urban canyon that inherits public functions such as commercial stores and shops, as well as an extendable community center and cultural school building, the Atomi.

Under the 4 individual plinths there are naturally ventilated parking structures that extend from the perimeter inwards below the various building blocks. These parking opportunities are linked to a communal mobility center that interconnects the plinth and the houses with electric neighborhood vehicles : the Geminis. These low-emission modes of mobility are the only vehicles that are allowed to move inside the site plan, on the landscape topography with its many unique pathways and cross connections and the central passage. The Gemini is an all electric slow moving vehicle specially designed for the interconnected traffic with citizens, bike riders and other means of transportation.

The design strategy is laid out to reduce traffic and reduce CO² pollution to guarantee a premium living quarter with a heterogeneous offer in ammenities, cinemas, galleries and more, all connected through the central valley.

The character of the quarter is not only defined by the 4 sloping hillsides but also by the lowering density, function transition towards private and height of the buildings. A hybrid space, where people can flourish and linger, that introduces the transformation from a car city to a pedestrian-sized city.

In the central of the cultural valley is a new kind of hybrid of communal open house, the Atomi,  and various schools. The school, which is the first block of the extendable 4 part multi-purpose building is situated at the tip of the southern slope.

It is centered to contrast a rural living aspect of the elevated residential block on top of the slopes with an urban character.

On the topography the residential and mixed used buildings are optimized in modular assemblies of pre-fabricated apartment units. This guarantees an affordable housing strategy and integrates daycare and recreational functions in the bottom of the buildings combined in a novel and aesthetic way.

All of the mixed development is designed to facilitate minimal need for heating and cooling – using sustainable means of renewable sources such as geothermal, biofuel or solar energy.

The rooftops are used for photovoltaic systems and wind turbines that create energy for the mobility center. The Valley‘s diverse cultural and recreational functions are all  feeding into another – interlinked in a Smart Grid providing an urban ecosystem with a central Energy Center for the neighborhood‘s district heating and cooling. The collected water is re-purposed as watering for green areas and excess heat from commercial functions is directed towards recreational functions, e.g. spas.

Orientation and design of the housing blocks is optimised for passive heating and cooling strategies realised with green roofs and concrete core activation. The valley is lowered and integrates various storm water retention ponds that aim to regulate stormwater while actually integrating different water levels into public life.

Bio-Diversity is fostered on the four uniquely themed topographies, each one giving a neighborhood its own identity and recognition value. The plant life in the central valley is carefully chosen with stormwater protection and a working drainage system in mind.