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Design exchange between Gothenburg and Helsinki

As part of the project Dockland Design Exchange, ArkDes has joined with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, MFA, and the independent organisation, the Association of Finnish Architects’ Offices, ATL, to invite six architecture firms from Gothenburg and Helsinki to share their experiences of architecture in old harbour areas.

“The idea is to give the architecture firms the opportunity to get to know one another, share experiences and hopefully get new ideas. ArkDes has an important role to play in strengthening the connection between Swedish architecture and an international arena, especially the relationship with our Nordic neighbours, who are facing similar challenges as we are,” says Karin Svensson, project manager at ArkDes.

The largest urban development project in the Nordic region is currently underway in Gothenburg. Large parts of the city’s former harbour areas along the Göta älv river will be receiving a complete facelift in the future. Similar processes are taking place in Helsinki. Urbanisation is taking a giant step closer to the water, as everything from islands, peninsulas and former harbours are being used for urban development.

How can architecture contribute to both preserving the identity of these areas and thinking anew at the same time? What methods are being used to address issues of rising water levels and sustainability? How does water become a natural part of public space?

The group was in Gothenburg on 25 and 26 April when they visited one another’s offices and also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the city planning office – as well as
with others, including Älvstranden Utveckling, the municipal company responsible for development along the river and the construction company NCC. Helsinki is the project’s next stop, where the group will visit more firms and projects.

“This visit will be a good opportunity to strengthen Nordic cooperation in architecture and urban planning. It increases our understanding of the challenges and opportunities our cities face. We’re really looking forward to two intensive days together in Helsinki at the end of May,” says Markus Bergheim of Liljewall Architects, one of the firms participating in the exchange.

Participating firms: Liljewall Architects, Mareld Landscape Architecture, What! Architecture, Huttunen-Lipasti Architects, Inaro and VSU Architects.