ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in Helsinki

  • Region : Southern Finland
  • Area : 85
  • GPS X : 24.981365203857422000
  • GPS Y : 60.206904480226550000
  • Project start : 2000
  • Project end : 2012
  • Implementation start : 2000
  • Implementation end : 2012
  • Website : http://
  • Project Status : Implemented in part
  • Client : The City Planning Office of Helsinki, The Public Works Department of Helsinki
  • Ownership : Public
  • Accessibility : Unrestricted areas
  • Notes : Links: The City Planning Office, Helsinki:!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLN4p3DgHJmMUbxDvqR0IFfD3yc1P1g4ASkeZAEd9g_aic1PTE5Er9YH1v_QD9gtyIcm9HR0UAit719Q!!/delta/base64xml/L0lJSk03dWlDU1lBIS9JTGpBQU15QUJFUkVSRUlrLzRGR2dkWW5LSjBGUm9YZnJDRUEhLzdfMl9NUy8xMg!!?WCM_PORTLET=PC_7_2_MS_WCM&WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/fi/Kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto/Ajankohtaiset+suunnitelmat/Projektialueet/Arabianranta City of Helsinki Economic and Planning Centre: Helsinki virtual village: Artistic co-operation of Arabianranta:;1450;1452;22725
  • Brief Description : A modern housing area of art and design

    Arabianranta is a new, modern district in the inner city area of Helsinki on the shore of Vanhankaupunginlahti, the old Helsinki bay. It is a good, fresh example of Finnish town and landscape planning and arhcitecture, in which there is a balance between neighboring natural areas and urban, man made environment; but also refreshing contrasts between old traditional ways of building and new technology. The landscape has been the major basis for planning, but also the industrial background and art has been kept as and important part of planning.

    The building of the new housing area of Arabianranta began in the spring of 2000. The construction of apartment blocks for housing will continue until the year 2010. Public spaces will be completed by the year 2012.

    Land-use and characteristics

    Arabianranta is completing the neighborhoods of Arabia and Toukola. It used to be an art and design based industrial area and the land is mostly filled land. The area is located around 6 kilometers from the centre of the city on the seashore close to the mouth of the Vantaanjoki river. There is a good connection to the centre by tram and by bus.

    The size of the housing area is totally 85 hectares, which includes 44 hectares of green areas. Arabianranta is not just a residential area, but a combination of housing, industry and education. The land-use is kind of zonal: close to the main street is a zone for industry and education, in the middle of the area there is the housing zone and the seashore is a park area. In the planning attention has been paid to the landscape and to maintaining and creating good views. Housing yards open as widely as possible towards the sun and to the seaside. This provides pleasant, soft edges also from the sea to the housing area. There are several axes from the housing area to the green area on the seashore.

    There will be 7 500 residents living, 5 000 people working and 5 000 students studying in the area. Arabianranta is home to many companies connected to design, crafts, education and media (e g Hackman Oyj, which is well-known all around the world in Finnish design). Arabianranta has one of Helsinki’s biggest student concentrations: the University of Art and Design Helsinki, the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory, the Faculty of Culture and Services of the Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia, an audiovisual educational institution and Arcada, the Finland-Swedish University of Applied Science.

    In Arabianranta there are some special curiosities, which are important to the identity of the area: there are lots of works of art in the housing area and there is a virtual village of Arabianranta existing on the web. Art has been part of the planning from the very beginning: in all kinds of construction work 1.5 percent of the budget has to be reserved to art. There are works of art in public spaces but also in courtyards and entrances of houses. Simultaneously with the building of the city of art and design, a project to form a virtual village community in Arabianranta, Helsinki Virtual Village, has been carried out. It works as a tool for the development and marketing of Arabianranta and provides services for companies, experts and residents.

    Recreational areas

    Arabianranta is located on the seashore close to the nature reserve of the Vanhankaupunginlahti. The scenery of the sheltered inner archipelago has retained much of its original character and the views to the sea and to the bird protection area and to the fields of Viikki in the northeast are superb. The closeness of water and nature gives values not only for the landscape but also for recreation: watching birds, fishing, canoeing etc. A good network of recreation routes exists already and the planned seaside park will complement that.

    The Seaside park

    A seaside park offers recreation possibilities for the local inhabitants but also for the inhabitants on the neighborhood. Also the passing-by-cyclists and walkers use the routes of the seaside park, because it is a link from the centre to the Vantaanjoki river green area and to the nature conservation area of Vanhankaupunginlahti.

    The park is also a part of the ecosystem of the sea bay Vanhankaupunginlahti and it will support the ecological variety of the bird conservation area. The vegetation planned for the area reminds us of the Finnish archipelago: there are open meadows and islands of deciduous trees.

    Special conditions of the area have been noticed in planning. The enclosed areas of trees are sheltering from the wind blowing from the sea. The park is located almost entirely on filled land and there is no possibility to vary the altitude because of geotechnical problems. Even though the park will be entirely man made, it will still have a lot of natural features. If the sea level is temporarily rising, no harm to the park constructions will be caused: functional areas and constructions are located close to the housing areas and on the seashore there are mostly open meadows in there.

    The seaside park is being planned in co-operation by Helsinki City Public Works Department, The City Planning Office and The Administration Centre. The design is by Maisemasuunnittelu Hemgård, which is a Finnish landscape planning office. The park will be constructed step by step between the years 2004–2012.

    Kaj Franckin katu – Kaj Franck’s street

    Kaj Franck’s street is a green, esplanade-like street area, which is planned for pedestrians. It is a part of one of the main axes from the main street, Hämeentie, through the industrial area to a pedestrian gallery of art and design, continuing through the housing area to the seaside park. Kaj Franck’s street is one of the entrances to the seaside park of Arabianranta.

    The beginning of Kaj Franck’s street in the west is a square, where also a tram stop is located. The square space continues to the west, where wide steps lead up to the industrial buildings and to the pedestrian gallery square on the upper level. From the steps of the pedestrian gallery, the whole Kaj Franck’s street area can be seen.

    Residential buildings edge the street on both the north and the south side providing a closed-in space. The street is divided into different parts: there are two pedestrian zones close to the buildings on both sides of the street. In between of the pedestrian zones, there is a green area about 20 meters wide. From one pedestrian zone to another there are connections through four small squares. Works of art by Howard Smith have been placed on the small squares. The speciality of the street is how it looks different from its different ends: stony from the seaside and green from the upper square of the pedestrian gallery.

    The designer of the street is Gretel Hemgård from the planning office Maisemasuunnittelu Hemgård. Kaj Franck’s street was planned by Helsinki City Public Works Department, on co-operation by The City Planning Office, Helsinki Energy, Helsinki Water Services and Helsinki City Transport and with others.
  • Designer : Green areas are designed by Maisemasuunnittelu Hemgård
  • Project Name : Original : ARABIANRANTA, Helsinki
  • Type : Housing schemes
  • Image Title : Buildings in Arabianranta
  • Image Desc : There are different types of buildings in Arabianranta housing area: residential, industrial and educational.
Image Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in HelsinkiImage Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in HelsinkiImage Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in HelsinkiImage Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in HelsinkiImage Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in HelsinkiImage Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in HelsinkiImage Title: ARABIANRANTA, a housing area of art and design in Helsinki