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ReConnecting Tampere won the International Design Contest for the Tampere Travel and Service Centre

Published 2.10.2014 11.41

The results of the International Design Contest for the Tampere Travel and Service Centre have been announced. The jury judged ReConnecting Tampere, which was submitted by a Danish-Finnish team, to have the most potential for development. The City of Tampere organized the competition for the development of the Tampere Railway Station and its environs in cooperation with the Finnish Transport Agency, Senate Properties, and VR-Group Ltd.

The winning designer team included Cobe Aps (Denmark), with architect Dan Stubbergaard as the chief designer, Ramboll Finland Ltd, with engineer Jouni Lehtomaa as traffic planner, Lunden Architecture Oy, and Newsec Valuation Oy.

Because the contest was an ideas competition, none of the proposals can be used as a basis for further planning without development. However, the winning proposal more closely meets the aims of the competition programme than any of the other entries. The planning of the area will be developed on this basis. Next, a master plan will be prepared in cooperation with local residents.

The organizers sought a shared vision for the development of the area, and guidelines for future measures. The competitors were asked to propose solutions for traffic arrangements, functions, cityscape, and architecture in the competition area.

They were also asked to locate 100 000 - 120 000 floor square metres of new construction - including the functions of the new Travel and Service Centre - within the competition area, which extends from Sorinsilta Bridge to Erkkilänsilta Bridge.

Four of the five international designer teams that were invited to participate in the contest submitted high-quality development proposals for the area. Based on their ideas, it is clear that the area has the potential to become an important channel for thousands of passengers every day, with flexible services to support the various travel chains.

The area can at the same time be developed into a high-quality employment, service, and housing hub that coheres well with the existing cityscape and city structure.

The winner daringly unifies the city centre

ReConnecting Tampere offers an innovative basic city structure solution, in which the mixed urban structure extends across the railway area. This visionary proposal is varied and functionally attractive. Above all, it is vibrant, with a bold and innovative approach to the planning of the area.

Although several aspects of the solution remain to be resolved, the overall vision is clear: a unified city centre as well as a united Travel & Service Centre and city centre. The proposal is a compelling starting point for further development.

In terms of the overall traffic solution, ReConnecting Tampere is the most convincing of the contest entries. However, its traffic network solution deviates from the current plans, which does present some difficulties with the phasing of the plan.

In the long term, it may well be possible to extend the city centre ring route to the east as proposed in the entry. The proposal leaves a number of current traffic problems unsolved, such as the station square and the junction of Hämeenkatu Street and Rautatienkatu Street. Similarly, little attention has been paid to developing east-west pedestrian connections, and also to the development of a cycling connection in the southern part of the competition area.

Functional travel chains and new character

In ReConnecting Tampere, the travel and service centre functions are located on several levels, forming a clear entity in which all modes of transport flow smoothly. The travel and service centre concept presented in the proposal merges well with the existing master plan for the passenger railway yard, and it implements the objectives of the Tampere City Centre Development Programme.

The cityscape portrayed in the proposal is memorable, with the new large park in front of the station promising to become a significant new city landmark.

The western edge of the deck creates an exciting backdrop for the railway station. The arching wooden surfaces and structures create a warm atmosphere, and work well with the red-brick facades of the station building. The canopy and arcades give the platform area an impressively bracing character.

In terms of protecting the existing buildings, the proposal needs further development. The area in front of the historically valuable engine halls is significantly affected by the plan. In addition, relocating the freight yard in the manner proposed is not feasible.

However, the proposal provides opportunities for creating a new and significant built cultural environment, while at the same time reviving the tradition of constructing station parks. Some cultural-historical features will disappear from the urban landscape, but will be replaced with significant urban landscape elements in the city centre, most notably a new park and the districts that will be built over the railway tracks.

Public opinion is collected for the master plan

In the next phase, a master plan will be prepared for the travel and service centre area. The organizers of the contest will negotiate on drawing up the master plan with the team responsible for the winning entry. The master plan will continue the development process of the area in accordance with the letter of intent between the Finnish government and the Tampere sub-region regarding land use, housing, and traffic.

Parties concerned have a chance to influence the development of the master plan similarly to the planning process of the local master plan. The city has already begun to collect public opinions for the master plan on the contest and the contest entries.

The contest entries and their evaluation minutes are on display in Galleria Nottbeck in the Media 54 building in the Finlayson area on weekdays, from 3 to 17 October 2014 at 14.00-18.00. Written opinions can be submitted at the exhibition. The material is also on display on the city’s website at www.tampere.fi/travelandservicecenter .

Opinions can also be submitted on the website.

Text Vili Rajala