Helsinki, Finland

looking west at kalasatama's first high rise apartment buildings from the big skateboard park. june 2014


ongoing group installation in suvilahti area next to kalasatama from the frozen species art project. february 2015



Kalasatama was a large heavy industrial area in Helsinki. An area for deposit of industrial material with a small industrial harbor. Since the last 5 years this wasteland is turning into a “cool” post-industrial area for creative factories and gentrified apartments. We are interested to the narratives, disciplines and libidinal conjunctions lost and acquired in this turbo- process. One world, slow and wasted, but also redundant of narratives and human relations linked to an industrialist conception of the production is being superposed by the fast advance of real estate speculation. The area will be turned from production to reproduction of the economic process. Only a few industrial buildings have resisted the gentrifying assault of new, color-accented, hip, monotonous luxury apartment buildings; and these remaining ones are rapidly being converted to post-industrial post-production creative labs for the cultural industry, to factory of precariat and general intellect. In hybrid marginal spaces of non-sense and non-regulation some youngsters have built a large skateboard park from raw building materials. They have also been permitted, under camera surveillance, to cover the plywooded fences of the area with spray-art. This keeps them on the margins, out of the rest of the intensely surveilled city. Other artists use the paved industrial wasteland of the former gas production plant for performance or rock concerts. The old abandoned gasometers are slowly turned into a cool architectural installation. All these inconsistent chaotic movements produced by the pressure of real estate speculation, erase, open, join and close new relation and new stories, fragments of existential territories, dispersed heterotopies, but at the same time they pre-figure the normalization of the life, the erasure of memories and singularities to implement the rigid urban grid of an homologated space for the reproduction of capitalism.

Land nick names, Neologisms and slang terms

helsinki, finland, kalasatama district and surrounding areas, sompasaari, suvilahti, verkkosaari, and kyläsaari



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Land Topography

Size of the Land in sqm (approx.)

175 hectares


  • Gravel
  • flat
  • asphalt


  • flat and open sometimes fenced
  • mixed buildings
  • some low industrial buildings
  • new big 5 story apartment buildings

Land status and definition


  • Post-Industrial

Legal Status

  • In Public Ownership

Current Land Owner

helsinki city
<p>mostlly the city of helsinki government</p>

Known intended future use by the land owner(s)

intensive extensive residential apartment housing and commercial/ office towers

text below from -


Kalasatama will be built in the middle of an existing compact urban structure. Construction has already commenced and it is one of the biggest development projects in Helsinki. Kalasatama is already home to some thousands of residents.

Kalasatama is a former harbour and industrial area of approximately 175 hectares of waterfront on the eastern side of the city centre owned by the City of Helsinki. The harbour was moved to make room for the construction of residential and office buildings.

The completion of construction is estimated to occur in the 2030s. A total of 5,000-7,000 housing units (720,000m2) will be built, along with 535,000m2 of office premises.

The first services are in place including a daycare centre. Kalasatama Centre located in the heart of the area will house most of the area’s public and commercial services. The centre will consist of a commercial complex and a number of high-rise buildings comprising a hotel tower, an office tower and six residential towers. The first sections of Kalasatama Centre are scheduled for completion in 2017 and the rest stepwise by 2021. The tallest of the 20- to 30-storey towers will rise to 126 metres. The Itäväylä access road from eastern Helsinki and the metro line will be covered with a green deck, which will accommodate the courtyards of the residential towers. Kalasatama Centre is constructed SRV.

Historical (basic)

History of Kalasatama

The area of Kalasatama has very important industri

al history because Helsinki’s first large power

station and gasworks were built th

ere in the 1910s. This initial step produced a series of production

buildings for engineering and sub

sequent power stations on the site of Kalasatama. Respectively,

Helsinki’s major energy plants, the Hanasaari A and

B power plants, were built

in the 1950s and 1970s.

Within Kalasatama, Hanasaari is

marked as an energy supply area where these two power plants, the coal

pile area, and the Suvilahti steam power stations are

found. In the area between the northern side of the

Hanasaari B power plant and the Suvilahti power stati

on, a new station for technical supply and a future

power plant are planned.(2)

The operation of the Hanasaari B power

plant continues until 2025-2030, when

a new power plant will be built. Coal and oil are

the major energy sources to provide electricity in

Helsinki; however, gas and garbage disposal as well as other ways of generating electricity will be

considered for the future power plant.


Helsinki Competition brief, pg 14.


Land Access


  • Accessible


sea bay to the east and south, power plant and traffic arterial to the west, small industry, great recycling center, and new 5 story housing development(arabia) to the north

Land Users

Land is occupied by

  • Graffiti artists
  • residents
  • garden initiative
  • gravel storage
  • building companies
  • open air cafe
  • shipping container sauna


lots of use by youth, independent culture.

massive housing construction in progress

Compare to Wasteland


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