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Competition: Tampere waterfront masterplan, Finland

The City of Tampere in Finland has launched an open international ideas competition to masterplan its waterfront Hiedanranta district (Deadline: 21 September)

The contest, which is open to teams of architects, landscape architects and other disciplines, seeks proposals for a new ‘dense, flexible and sustainable’ urban district overlooking Lake Näsijärvi.

The 1.4 million m² regeneration project aims to deliver 10,000 new jobs and housing for around 25,000 people on the historic industrial site.



Hiedanranta contest site

According to the brief: ‘Competitors are tasked with designing a comprehensive plan for the area on the conceptual level - a vision for the future of the area.

‘The plan should present a high-quality area, both functionally and in terms of the cityscape. In the coming years, the area’s development will be steered based on the material generated as a result of the competition.’

Tampere is the largest inland city in any of the Nordic countries and is known as the ‘Manchester of Finland’ or ‘Manse’ due to its industrial past.

Hiedanranta is around 5km north-west of Tampere city centre, and features a mix of factories and warehouses alongside a former manor house and the remnants of a country estate which once occupied the area.




Proposals should preserve existing historic buildings, enhance the ‘rugged and surprising’ historic landscape and deliver a new high-quality environment for living and work. They should also accommodate the continued operation of working factories on the site.

Masterplans may explore the possibility of using reclaimed land to improve connections between the lakeside and nearby Tampere city centre.

The 15-strong jury will feature at least two members chosen by the Finnish Association of Architects plus two external consultants. All competition entries will be exhibited online for public comment.

The winning team, set to be announced in December, will receive around €110,000. A further €110,000 will also be shared between the runners-up.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 21 September.

Contact details

Reijo Väliharju
Development Manager

Tel: +358 50 388 0901

View the competition website for more information

St John’s masterplan case study: Q&A with Stefan Trebicki

The project architect at SimpsonHaugh and Partners discusses lessons learned masterplanning a former television production complex in Manchester, England

SimpsonHaugh and Partners

SimpsonHaugh and Partners

Stefan Trebicki

How will your competition-winning St John’s masterplan create a n­ew district within its formerly industrial waterfront district?

It brings historic assets and new buildings and spaces together. The public realm and lower building elements are woven into the immediate setting, and the taller elements appropriately address the wider context. It makes St John’s a truly unique place for Manchester and brings new value to the city. We looked beyond Manchester and the UK to support our ideas by studying Brooklyn, Barcelona’s gothic quarter, Rotterdam and Masdar. This raised many questions, such as, why should all buildings be 18m apart? These cities show that they don’t need to be. It’s very exciting to meander through intimate streets and pocket spaces discovering new delights, like an artisan bakery or jewellery maker.



St John’s masterplan by SimpsonHaugh and Partners

What considerations are important when designing a new development retaining historic buildings and featuring a mix of uses?

Vision and collaboration. We are fortunate to work with a brave and forward-thinking client and supportive city council. Setting out the ambition ensures everyone works together to achieve the best result.

A true mix of uses. Each use has the potential to support the other and getting the mix right means round-the-clock activity and vibrancy. This does come with potential issues. You need to appropriately consider subtle separation and layering. For example, the proximity of an entertainment venue to homes needs careful consideration.

Identify at an early stage which assets add value, provide quality and bring opportunity. Work with and around them. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it is always worth preserving.

People movement and route hierarchy. Where are people coming from? Where do they want to be? Where would you like them to go afterwards?

Servicing. Often this is one of the last things to be thought about. Early consideration of servicing reduces the risk of creating sterile back streets or having refuse trucks thundering past outdoor cafés.



St John’s masterplan by SimpsonHaugh and Partners

How would you set about masterplanning a new mixed residential and business future for the Hiedanranta area of Tampere, Finland

It’s challenging, but anything is possible with commitment and the right team. We would:

Appraise the site’s history and context in detail and, at the early stages, distil this into a series of diagrams to inform an initial strategic approach

Challenge the brief and look to set out an ambitious vision for the masterplan. Quite often people don’t know what they want until you show them what they can have

Engage with the community throughout the project, challenging expectations and encouraging involvement

Design for flexibility. One reason our St John’s competition submission was successful was that the smaller footprints of the buildings we proposed more readily allowed for evolution and change. A building may be built in three years. A masterplan takes far longer, 10 years perhaps, during which time external factors can change. The buildings themselves need to be flexible too, even after completion.




St John’s masterplan by SimpsonHaugh and Partners