Nolli Gardens

Jyväskylä, Finland

First prize in Europan 13 competition! In collaboration with Freyke Hartemink and Jarrik Ouburg.

New student and elderly housing blocks create an attractive local centre where the buildings form a catalyst for social integration and buildings function as small villages in the network of the city.

In 1784 Giambattista Nolli drew a map of the city of Rome that was revealing. Normally plans showed the built and unbuilt space, the private and public. Nolli presented enclosed public spaces, such as interior of the Pantheon, as open civic spaces. For a community exactly these open and shared spaces offer room for mutable appropriation.

We propose to invert the typical modernistic scheme of the original urban plan. It is the public space that shapes the buildings instead of the other way around.

A valuable characteristic of the original plan – its openness and continuity of an abstract cartesian space – gave birth to a network of spontaneous "elephant paths" organically overlaying the orthogonal, modernistic grid. Openness and permeabilty of the new blocks' ground level maintains and nurtures this important appropriation by inhabitants, integrating the newly created courtyards into the pre–existing spatial network.

The old student housing blocks will be replaced by one 4–5 storey building encompassing a collective courtyard.

Apartments are accessed from a central corridor interupted on every floor by double–height "nolli gardens" – spaces of social interaction that can accommodate collective programme such as dining and kitchen, winter garden, lounge area, library, sauna, etc. Each collective space is directly connected with the courtyard via a distinct exterior staircase or ramp.

The elderly housing block outlining a public square with commercial functions will constitute a new centre for the neighborhood.

All elderly apartments are facing street side, but are accessed from a collective space located along the inner side of the block. From there, the elderly inhabitants can overlook the public square while enjoying a chat with neighbours, fostering their connection and engagement with the surroundig city.

Client: City of Jyväskylä, The Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä JYY, NCC Group

Student housing block: 124 family apartments, 240 single room apartments, commercial and service units, bicycle parking and shelters (total 17.840 m2)

Central block: 76 elderly apartments, supermarket, restaurant, 420 parking places (total: 7.428 m2)

Execution urban plan: 2016, Buildings: 2017–

Team: Maciej Abramczyk (CSH), Freyke Hartemink, Jarrik Ouburg