Korsholm is a little municipality with just over 18,000 inhabitants, on the coast just north-east of Vaasa in Finland. The area’s chief town, Smedsby, is sparse and fragmented, having for decades been cut down the middle by a highway. Since the traffic now bypasses the town, an opportunity has arisen to fuse both halves together with a renewed urban quality.
The competition brief was to produce innovative ideas as a basis for a new flexible detailed plan. A total of 54 teams took part in the competition but the jury finally awarded first prize to White and WSP Finland. White’s concept is to create a clear mid-point, a concentrated urban core with potential, which stimulates street-life and social interaction, with a well considered, cohesive structure to the buildings and landscaping. A new square, a fairly tall apartment tower with 12 storeys and a new Cultural Centre Park is included in the White proposal. However there is also a powerful concentration on public transport, including a tramway in to Vaasa. The Smedsby of the future is being built with sustainability in mind – in all dimensions, ecologically, socially and technologically.
White’s Professor Sara Grahn specialises in sustainable design and is responsible for the whole of the project that is being developed, in collaboration with White’s environmental experts. The whole area is to be made carbon-neutral – in other words, it will not emit any more carbon dioxide than it is being supplied with. New buildings are to be constructed in compliance with the Passive House standards, using that most original of Finnish raw materials – timber. A ground-source heating plant is being proposed, with wind power acting as a supplement at selected locations, and all remodelling will take place in accordance with Green Building standards.
Successful urban planning is not just one project, it is a whole process with special driving forces and obstacles. White’s proposal therefore indicates a master structure, using tools that could act as a model, enduring over a long period of time.
- Client: Korsholm Municipality
- Project Start/End: 2009-2013
- Completed: 2013
- Area/Size: 130 000 m² of new city development
- City: Korsholm
- Photographer/Illustrator: White
- Sara Grahn
- Mikael Stenqvist
- Stefan Rummel
- Jan Wijkmark
- Oskar Nordquist