Tropaion by ALA Architects



Tropaion is a residential project by Finnish architects ALA on the site of the former Hanasaari power station in Helsinki, Finland.


The project was selected early last year in a competition run by Helsinki's planning department. Construction is set to begin early next year.


The following is from ALA Architects:


The planning of a new 100 000 m2 residential area in downtown Helsinki is proceeding, with city planning authorities set to approve the regulation plan by the end of the year 2008. Construction of the first building is set to begin in 2009, after the land has been cleaned by the previous user, Helsinki Energy.


The site is an old industrial peninsula 3 kilometres from the Helsinki city centre. It was previously occupied by a coal-fired power plant. An invited design competition was organised by the city of Helsinki to produce a design for this challenging site. ALA was selected as the winner in march 2007. The site is very much part of the inner city of Helsinki and accessible by tram and other public transport as well as light traffic routes.


The scheme, called “Tropaion”, consists of five perimeter blocks of varying heights covered with roof terraces of the upper apartments. The blocks form a gigantic bowl shape with crossing sea views from all terraces and a sense of community and togetherness for the people. The courtyards will form semi-proivate spaces, which the residents of Helsinki are very fond of, and public streets with shops and services at street level. Building heights vary from 16 floors down to two, with varying housing typologies and apartments sizes included in the same blocks.


After that the winning design has been taken further in collaboration with the city planners. The regulation plan will be very strict, outlining the size and shape of the housing blocks to exact detail. The architectural details will be developed further when individual building design starts in early 2009, but it is already safe to say that this striking design will be implemented as proposed. This will introduce a whole new typology to the Finnish housing market and create an unique, dense and urban area with a lot of character –something there seems to be a big demand for in the heavily standardized housing market.


Architectural design: ALA Architects ltd, Helsinki
Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta, Samuli Woolston

Client: Helsinki City Planning Department

Other designers: Trafix (traffic), Airix (systems engineering)

Posted on Friday August 8th 2008 at 2:23 pm by Rob Ong. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • edward

    Great project! But doesn’t anyone do watercolor renderings anymore?

  • lecorbusier


  • chapmaniac

    Bjarke Ingels does this kind of stuff way better

  • floyd landis

    It makes my ass want to chew gum.

  • Pelu

    absolutely, it´s very BIG


    cool! plastic buildings :-)

  • J

    ha! yeah did everyone think of JDS and BIG…but i don’t think they should have copyright over a method (which is quite a broad one) within architecture….so let everyone experiment in that direction if they want to…

    good project, although i would like to see the diagrams if it was produced in that way, i feel for architects or designers that the diagrams are the language of communication of these projects and not the finished renders..

    PS> why do designers criticize everything so much with negative commentry!! reminds of school!! euugh!!

  • Upendra

    thats a huge project. interesting to know how sustainable the project is.

  • i love these. they evoke a fun panoply of associations.

  • DCV

    It’s very BIG. I really like it. As J says, I don’t think there should be any copyright. Somehow, it shows the influence of excellent young architects.

  • size is doesn’t matter, but why it so BIG….! :)

  • Arthur C

    C’est le retour de Marina Baie des anges…
    It’s the return of Marina-baie des Anges…
    It’s been done already in South of France, on the south Riviera of the Cote d’Azur…by Andre Minangoy in the 60’s-70’s, in a more grandiose way with yachts and a real marina.

  • Artistic Interiors

    A very intelligent treatment that gives views and outdoor space for all to enjoy. It brings to mind Pueblo buildings in the American SW.

  • oujaz

    fun fun fun architecture.

  • jpb

    We’ ve seen the failure of such buildings concentrations years ago, when people thought that putting flats on flats would create communities.
    Now, we got the same in colours, in a nice location – preferably a piece of water -, always in the sun and with smilling 3 D models.
    Wouldn’ t it be time to think for real and propose some real alternatives, which take place in a real world, for real inhabitants…??
    Makes me think about these 50 ‘s postcards showing the world in 2000.
    Keep on dreaming, but stop to pretend.

  • SOO

    jpb is saying what i want to say

  • Arthur C

    Jpb is still assuming there are real people, and a real world.
    There are many real worlds, and a lot of so-called people, that are more like plancton…with undefine identities, marketed by brands and junk internet.
    Very few have real opinions….people are just passing informations or even recycling them nowadays.

  • Zezeen

    jpb Says:
    “…when people thought that putting flats on flats would create communities…”
    Do you mean apartment buildings?

    Overall, do you have a Real point (understandable in the real world) besides to proposing ugly people and bad weather for perspective drawings?

  • jpb

    Take a look around you…
    Unless you live in Greenland or worse, unfortunately, in Ossetia,
    the weather is not so bad… Don’t even speak of the people.
    What i just wanted to say is that what is often called a “good” or “beautiful”
    project nowadays is more often of an absolute conformism.
    Doesn’t speak of people who lives in, speaks of the people who draw it.
    And their Ego.
    Is that understandable for you ?
    And yes, flats = apartments.

  • andi

    yea, diagrams are very important here, for instance a sun study for the inner courtyards. It’s very important for their succes to be well iluminated.

  • Allen

    hi,people am an Architect student in Kenya , here designs like those i have just seen are never imagined.I dont know if the it is because we are a 3rd world country or what?Mine is to say that the work you are doing is great.

  • Gabs


  • ali