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Töölöntori Square
Helsinki 2019

A SQUARE FOR ALL

Trees contribute to healthier, happier, better cities. We all know that instinctively, but now we also know that we’re living in a time of climate and biodiversity crisis. It stands to reason, then, that every project, whatever the scale, should be an opportunity to contribute to a solution.

Töölöntori is the perfect opportunity to show how filling a place with trees rather than cars can do us all good. Isn’t an urban forest, right here in the centre of a bustling, thriving city, the best way of showing that there is an alternative to large carbon footprints and a car-dependent way of life?

This is our vision for Töölöntori – a sustainable green public square at the heart of Helsinki.

Trees both absorb carbon dioxide and increase biodiversity by attracting small birds, butterflies and insects of all kinds. They are critically important for our cities at a time when many species of insects are at risk of extinction, especially pollinators, without which we wouldn’t survive.

It’s not only about an abstract future, though. It’s also about people and our everyday lives. There is scientific proof that trees and greenery improve the health and wellbeing of people of all ages.

Trees have a positive influence on our mood, reducing the stress caused by our fast-paced lifestyles. And more than ever, people in cities – especially children – are disconnected from nature.

By bringing trees into our urban centres we start to repair that relationship.

So, an urban forest becomes, a place for people. The market here at Töölöntori would gain a more natural backdrop, and a mix of different species, including fruit trees, along with well-designed and playful outdoor furniture, would make it a place to linger, to sit and chat, a place to play and to learn about nature.

Planting trees wherever we can, is one of the most effective ways we can help fight climate change. And if we turn this square into a green, tree-filled square, we’ll also be welcoming people.

Töölöntori will be good for people, good for wildlife, and good for the planet.

Project Name:     Töölöntori Square Masterplan (competition proposal)
Location:              Helsinki
Date:                     2019
Architects:           PiM.studio Architects
Maurizio Mucciola, Maria-Chiara Piccinelli, Martin De Pablo Esteban