Helsinki South Harbour | Helsinki Finland | PORT

Helsinkiʼs South Harbour has the potential to become a world-class urban waterfront, cited alongside Copenhagen, Barcelona, Rio, Sydney and Hong Kong as among the most spectacular waterside public realms in the world.

However, at present the harbour exists primarily as a working facility – a highly fragmented, disorienting tangle of streets, trolley lines, ferry queues, staging zones and restricted access areas all comprising a limited-access waterʼs edge. Even the harbourʼs most successful public facility, the Market, is dominated by automobile parking and servicing, leaving the public realm of the South Harbour a residual afterthought.

Our proposal takes this existing site and transforms it through six primary operations that place a priority on the harbourʼs civic space: 1) separate port service traffic from local traffic; 2) extend the city to the water; 3) create continuous, legible public waterfront access; 4) animate the waterfront through a collection of discrete landscape types; 5) provide generous, over-scaled
bespoke urban furnishing; and 6) anchor the new waterfront with four cultural icons. Individually, these are not radical moves. When considered collectively, however, these six operations create a complete reorientation and re-imagination of the role of the South Harbour within Helsinkiʼs metropolitan core.

The result is a generous, active, spectacular public realm that takes advantage of Helsinki and Finlandʼs unique cultural, physiological, and climatic heritage to create a timeless environment that will become the cityʼs most recognizable and important public space for both residents and tourists alike. The proposal retains and enhances the working port facilities, while creating a more contemporary platform for engaging and enjoying the historic harbour landscape. Simply put, our proposal transforms the South Harbour into Helsinkiʼs open front door – the place where the city and its people welcome the world

Helsinki South Harbour | Helsinki Finland | PORT
Project Team | Christopher Marcinkoski, Andrew Moddrell, Bradford Goetz, Travis Kalina, Katie LaCourt, Eric Hoffman, Brandon Biederman and Mark Cunningham
Master Plan | Fall 2011


About Damian Holmes 3288 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at