MIKKELI SATAMALAHTI MASTER PLAN
Competition entry, 2012
Waterfront redevelopment of former industrial or logistic areas has emerged as a major driver of urban expansion in cities all over the developed world in the last 20 years. In many ways, they provided a well-needed boost to urban development after the backlash of the large-scale social engineering schemes of the post-war era and subsequent suburban and new-town sprawl of the 70’s - 90’s in Europe. The type and scale of areas vary between global cargo ports to individual industrial buildings which are given new functions and social status. This development often makes up the main plot in a story of how a city transforms itself - and its identity - from site of industrial production to one of knowledge production. Soft values take over the rough, large-scale multifunctional spaces and in this meeting a new mentality is born - one of openness and innovation.
The success of these new areas is based on their ability to become integrated neighborhoods, with the emphasis on providing high-quality public spaces for the local residents as well as visitors. The city of Mikkeli is now aiming to enter a new phase of development in its transition from military settlement via industrial and administrative city into a forward-thinking regional centre for sustainable development, and thus we aim to provide a dynamic and multifaceted variation of the current paradigm. Typically, a landmark building provide the new identity and anchorpoint for the new districts. Very often they become symbolic structures, boasting with novel expression but without ability to directly engage with the new neighborhood. For Mikkeli, we propose not only to build a landmark building, but a complete integrated campus of research into sustainable technology. The science centre is educational museum building with research facilities, coupled to a large eco-lab and a green technology business incubator hub. The new campus would become an important node in the international network of sustainable development research.
In addition to the planned science centre, we propose to place a cultural building in the centre of the new Satamalahti district. Acting as an attractor for the city’s entire population, the cultural centre will provide considerable synergy-effects: Expansion of public activities, long-term investment into infrastructure and giving the city a new meeting place. It also becomes a natural joint in the new link between from the existing centre of Mikkeli to the new Satamalahti area. A seamless connection with potential to increase the density of the existing Mikkeli urban centre and to provide the city with new sustainable workplaces within new professional fields.