Relief in absentia – waterfront potential (again)

Well, we’ve been rather concentrated on other matters, other event-spaces than Helsinki. Thus the date we had once dreaded came and went without notice. Until, that is, Arkkivahti‘s feed reminded us of the issue of the month: the icy waterfront hotel scheme.

Well, on the seventh of April 2010 Herzog & deMeuron’s icy cross was turned down by the City Council. The local media – based on a v. quick internet search, i.e. Hesari and one or two others – seems to be engaged in some quasi-critical reflection in which it is suggested that the ‘antis’ were (as is usually the case in fast-capitalism), well, if not wrong, at least populist and thus discreditable. We hope there will be more sophisticated and design-savvy commentary elsewhere in time to come, as there was in November for instance, as reported via this blog.

But hey, maybe after six months, a year, three – depending on where you were in the networks of government and construction partnerships, or how keen you were to keep politicians accountable for public space – an outporing of one sort or another was to be expected.

So now, dear friends, with the demise of this bit of silliness (for that it was, however grand a design this seemed) Helsinki’s decision makers (who do, yes, still make the odd decision) have unblocked the development potential of an important and highly valued site. Put another way, just think what a sterile pursuit it is for a city in the boreal zone (cold and coniferous) to plug its waterfront with accommodation for tourists!

Eyes peeled then in months to come for Taivallahti.  Not for tourists, but not for many others either, there’s also the eastern edge of Lauttasaari (below X 3  last November, interestingly YIT the construction firm gets far more coverage than the architects). Whatever else next…

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