Plug-in City

The transformation of the railway area continues the evolution of Lahti from village to grid city and transportation node by adding a new layer of sustainable living to the already reputed cultural, educational and sports assets of the city.

In order to create an attractive urban environment, we propose achieving a compact mix of living and working by capitalizing on the unique qualities of this beautiful site: great accessibility, unique topography and a rich industrial heritage. Like an urban necklace, the linear city finds its way throughout the site, making optimal use of the infrastructure and height differences to create a rich sequence of public spaces, improved views and underground parking, while incorporating the existing urban fabric for retrofitting and adding to a richer urban environment.

Plug-in City is tactical: Using what’s already there adds a necessary level of pragmatism to the future, and connects to the already existing urban practices.

Plug-in City is flexible: The subdivision into sectors and blocks optimizes phasing possibilities and secures urban variety through individual development of the buildings. It plugs into the existing urban conditions, and provides itself plug-in opportunities for further development.

Plug-in City is contextual: It seeks for spatial and programmatic synergies with the surroundings. It mediates between North and South. It can up- and downsize to adjust to the surrounding urban fabric, and allows for preserving the site characteristics.

Plug-in City is car free: Underground parking under blocks and at crossing points, together with optimized linkage to the surrounding paths network support the pedestrian realm. Even in traffic-intense zones, multiple pedestrian-friendly choices are provided.

Plug-in City is diverse: The simple rules that structure the linear development encourage implementation of different designs, identities and agendas.

Plug-in City is experimental: Phased development and a multitude of potentials encourage experiments: why not develop a new collective housing typology over here, develop this factory to accommodate cultural production over there, or even allow people to build their own houses?

Plug-in City is temporary: It accommodates change, and balances between transformations, adaptive re-use and new interventions. Rent now, transform later!

Plug-in City is sustainable: It minimizes the impact on the landscape, building costs and energy consumption, while providing generous amounts of space for recreation, natural habitats and the production of food and energy.

Plug-in City is optimistically inclusive: You are welcome to plug in!

Client: City of Lahti, Finland

Program: Retrofit of the central railway area in Lahti, including the Asko industrial area

Year: 2012

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Adsersen, Marcin Kruk, Amélie Scheepers

Collaborators: Pauliina Koskinen Tonboe ark.MAA

Status: International competition, honorable mention