Uutta Helsinkiä Keskusta Market square returns to Töölö!
The objective is to shape Töölöntori Square into an attractive and experience-rich urban space that invites people to use the space and its services all year round. Further objectives are to improve the area’s business prerequisites, develop the marketplace operations and help the bricks-and-mortar stores become more concretely part of the market square and its wider surroundings as well as the evolving hub of rail traffic.
Following the ideas competition held in 2019–2020, the Töölö Market Square development project will proceed with small improvements while the plans for more permanent solutions are being made. These further plans have been being compiled since autumn 2020, based on the plan that won the competition.
Before starting the actual renewal process, smaller, experimental improvements will be made around the market square, enhancing and vitalising the area. The goal is to implement these improvements starting in summer 2021. The market square will be made into a cohesive open space that allows enough room for terrace operations, market vendors and recreation alike. The comfort in the market square will be enhanced with greenery and various market operation arrangements. To improve the functionality of the market square, the taxi station will be moved from the square to the side of Sandelsinkatu and parking spaces will be removed from the market square area. The traffic arrangements plan required by the improvements will be presented to the Urban Environment Committee for approval in March 2021. The temporary market square arrangements are presented in the detailed plan shown below.
The detailed plans for the Töölöntori Square area will be started in spring 2021, and comments and feedback on the plans will be requested from the area’s residents and other operators during the plans’ participation and assessment stages.
The goal is to implement the market square renewal by mid-2020s, right after the temporary pilot projects have been completed. However, the phased development of the market square will be taken into account in the plans; for example, the Helsinki City Rail Loop to be built underneath the market square will perhaps be implemented as late as in the 2030s.
The option of including a market hall building in the market square area, as in the winning competition entry, will also be reviewed during the planning. Building the market hall requires creating the right kind of concept and acquiring funding. The business review will assess the commercial potential around the Töölöntori Square area as well as how the existing commercial operations and the planned construction in the area could become an attractive, functional commercial and business unit and concept.
The winning entry features an open plaza in the middle, suitable for a fountain, organising summer events or building a skating rink in the winter. Benches, shallow steps and large planter tubs would be added around the plaza and more trees would be planted. A pavilion-type market hall was suggested to be built on the east side of the market square. Room for market operations would be reserved in front of the market hall.
The entry also proposes closing Tykistönkatu to vehicle traffic and changing it into a pedestrian area and terrace area along the market square. Parking would not be allowed on the market square, and parking spaces would be available at the sides of Sandelsinkatu and Töölöntorinkatu streets.
The City of Helsinki will start more detailed market square planning with the competition winner. The ideas presented in the winning entry will be defined further and refined during the continued planning work. The extent of the market square changes will also become clearer during the further plans. At the same time, which ideas presented in the winning entry could be piloted with a quick schedule will also be reviewed.
The starting point for the competition was to develop the market square into an attractive and characterful plaza. In addition to the plans for the area, the wish was to also discover new proposals and ideas for various future market operations in Töölö.
The competition was organised by the City of Helsinki together with the Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA, and MARK, the Finnish Association of Landscape Architects.
City of Helsinki’s Urban Environment Division
Two to One
Arkkitehtitoimisto Konkret Oy
Ilkka Törmä ja Otto Autio
Jaakko Heikkilä ja Katariina Heikkilä
Arkkitehtitoimisto Opus Oy