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NIAMH NÍ MHÓRÁIN

drawing out everyday expertise expanded role of architect in renovation of apartment buildings

Aalto University | Master’s Thesis | 2013 Supervisor: Prof. Hannu Huttunen Instructor: Katja Soini, MA


Abstract

Facilitating the involvement of residents in a collaborative design process and providing spatial flexibility are means architectural design can improve housing by better meeting residents’ diverse, changing and individual needs. As half of all housing construction in Finland is now renovation rather than new-build, this thesis aims to fill the current research gap on integrating those improvement strategies into existing housing. The architect’s role in the context of necessary technical renovation of apartment buildings is explored through a literature review and a case study, which involves envisioning the future development of the shared spaces, defined as spaces beyond the private apartment, of a rental apartment building complex in Kontula, Helsinki built in 1965. Methods for drawing out resident expertise and generating meaningful discussion with residents are investigated. The study asks how this additional input can go towards better design proposals. A time-line visualising the social life and physical alterations of the shared spaces over time is used as a tool, along with sketch proposals, during an open doors event aimed at collaboratively envisioning the future development of the shared spaces with residents. This feeds into architectural sketch design proposals. The case study shows that residents have valuable input that can go unexpressed, emphasises the importance of providing sketch proposals as a reference for residents and shows that the time-line tool can be used as a tool for encouraging longer term thinking. The case study shows that facilitating an informal event over a number of days can stimulate new ideas, can help towards quieter voices being heard, and lead to more robust proposals. Studying the building over time is a way of understanding which spaces are flexible and why, enabling this quality to be strengthened in future proposals. The expanded role of an architect proposed by this thesis is to draw out user knowledge of an apartment building during an extended version of the resident survey, which could feed into design proposals. As the resident survey along with the technical building survey act as the basis for renovation planning of a building, it could be a means for an architect to ensure the social is embedded in all decision making regarding the renovation of apartment buildings.

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Abstract Preface

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Introduction

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Description of project

Scope

Methods

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7 8

Part I: Background

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Towards improving housing

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Shifting practice

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Participation of resident

Shared spaces in apartment building

Housing design in Finland

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Towards improving existing housing

Housing renovation in Finland

Role of resident

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1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland

Birth and development of Finnish suburbs

Shaping of shared spaces

Precedent study

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Redevelopment projects

Research projects

Description of process Conclusion to Part II

Bibliography

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43 48

Background to case study

Discussion

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Conclusion to Part 1

Part II: Case study

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99 102

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Preface

The motivation for this study was a desire to better understand the effect of decisions made in the design process of a building project on people’s everyday lives. I wanted to get out of the comfort of my own bubble, by getting closer to a real Finnish context. The participatory renovation of apartment buildings opened up that possibility to me. I saw engaging with existing buildings and their occupants as an opportunity to develop skills so important to designing buildings, which I’ll never learn clicking away at my mouse. I hope this study will offer a new perspective to readers on what opportunities lie in the process of renovating apartment buildings in Finland towards having a positive impact on people’s lives.

Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the important role the ‘Lähiö 2072’ Tekes-funded multi-stakeholder project played in this project. This thesis is carried as part of the Lähiö 2072 project, which is coordinated by the Living Places research group at Aalto University. Along with financially supporting my thesis research, the numerous project workshops, which included a diverse group of stakeholders, provided invaluable inspiration for the ideas explored in the thesis. The Lähiö 2072 project provided me with the stepping stone towards approaching the residents of the case study buildings. I wish to acknowledge the residents at Kontulankuja, in particular the chairperson of the residents’ committee, and also Heka-Vesala property managing company for being an integral part of this thesis project. There would be no project without them. I am sincerely grateful for their being so welcoming and open towards me, and for offering my such eyeopening experiences. My special thanks are extended to my instructor Katja Soini for her encouragement and guidance, for instilling me with the confidence to engage with a real context, and for being the one who believed in me, and made it possible, along with Heidi Paavilainen, for me to be involved in the Suburb 2072 and Lähiö 2072 projects. I would like to sincerely thank my supervisor Hannu Huttunen for his valuable guidance and support and for always having time to meet when I asked for it. I am particularly grateful for the assistance given by Laura Delaney Ruskeepää, who intensively supported the thesis process with valuable and constructive feedback. I would also like to thank all the researchers at the Living Places research group for their support during my time working on this thesis there, in particular Sari Dhima and Tero Heikkinen. I would like to acknowledge the Creative Sustainability master’s programme staff and all my fellow students for encouraging me to critically explore the idea of sustainability and unashamedly seek out ways to use my architectural skills to make the world a better place. I would also like to thank those who took the time to have fruitful and stimulating conversations with me about the subject of the thesis, in particular Harri Hagan, Heidi Majander and Mikko Mälkki. Finally, I’d like to thank Reima and my family and friends for their emotional support. 5


Introduction

Modernist housing design improved dweller’s living conditions by fulfilling tangible human needs. Over the last half century, housing design has shifted towards looking for new ways of making a positive impact on people’s lives by seeking to also address residents’ less tangible, individual, diverse and continuously changing needs. One of these approaches is to increase the participation of residents, both through a collaborative design process and through flexible spatial design, which accommodates choice as to how spaces are used. However, the fact that residential renovation makes up a greater share of the European residential market than new-build (Vries, 2011) is not reflected in architectural research. This study aims to address this research gap by exploring the architect’s role in improving housing for dwellers by increasing resident participation in the context of necessary technical renovation of apartment buildings in Finland.

Description of project Chapter 1 discusses the shift in focus in housing design from fulfilling residents’ normative needs to also addressing less tangible needs, and from buildings as physical finished products to the collective processes of making buildings. The text addresses challenges involved in participatory processes in the context of designing shared residential spaces, and investigates current discourse regarding the architect’s role in improving housing design in the Finnish context. As half of all residential construction in Finland is now renovation rather than newbuild, this thesis aims to investigate the integration of improvement strategies, discussed in relation to new housing in chapter 1, into existing housing. Chapter 2 discusses the renovation of apartment buildings, noting that it is inherently more service-orientated than newbuild due to closer contact with the resident. This opens up an opportunity for architectural practice to increase resident participation. The chapter investigates renovation procedures defined in Finnish guidelines and the role of the resident in renovation. 1960s and 1970s apartment buildings make up a large proportion of the Finnish housing stock. These buildings are coming to an age where they are in need of larger renovation interventions. Chapter 3 discusses the shaping of the shared spaces of this era of housing with a wider societal lens, pinpointing defining factors beyond architectural design, such as advances in technology and the emergence of the concept of free-time. The chapter illustrates how these residential contexts developed from abstractions on the drafting boards of architects and urban planners, into places with diverse and multiple meanings. Chapter 4 adopts an architectural point of view, and explores the redevelopment of 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings on a European-wide scale through seven precedent studies. Though all of the buildings were constructed within a rationalist, normative modernist philosophy, their redevelopment addresses the social reality of residents with diverse and less tangible needs. Many of the projects employ some form of participatory

Introduction

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design. This chapter also investigates three completed research projects with an architectural involvement on the subject of redevelopment of 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland. These projects offer an array of new architectural proposals and visions for the physical alterations of these residential areas. The conclusion is that the challenge lies in the implementation of these improvements to buildings, when necessary technical repair is the only driver. Therefore this thesis concentrates on exploring new ideas for creating improved future living environments within the process rather than the final outcome of renovation. The first four chapters form Part I of the thesis, which functions as a background to the practice-based Part II of the thesis. Both parts developed iteratively, the thesis process itself directing a continuous redefining of the research question. Part II describes the case study. The architect’s role in the context of necessary technical renovation of apartment buildings is explored by envisioning the future development of the shared spaces, defined as spaces beyond the private apartment, of a rental apartment building complex in Kontula, Helsinki built in 1965. The case study explores the opportunity within renovation procedures for architectural practice to integrate increased resident participation, both by means of facilitating the involvement of residents in the early design process and by increasing the flexibility of spaces, and thereby providing more choice to residents as to how they may be used. The study addresses challenges involved with participation of residents in the design process, such as how to encourage longer term thinking, how to deal with power structures, and how to draw out resident expertise. The study in chapter 3 inspires an exploration into the interaction between the social life of the shared spaces of the apartment complex and the physical alterations made to these spaces over time. This is visualised in a time-line, and developed during encounters with residents and the property manager. The focus of the research is on discovering what in the process leads to improved design outcomes. The discussion section reflects the findings of the case study on the wider context of Finnish housing design and renovation.

Scope The thesis question is investigated within the scope of the development of the shared spaces of apartment buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s in the context of necessary technical building renovation in Finland. By ‘shared space’, I mean all those spaces within a housing development, which are not within the realm of the private individual apartment. This includes external spaces, stairwells, corridors, storage spaces, sauna spaces, laundry facilities, and clubrooms. I use the term ‘shared’ spaces as apposed to ‘communal’ or ‘collective’ spaces so as not to give the false impression that the intention is to solely study spaces where neighbours spend time together. Shared spaces can also be in exclusively private use. The aim of the thesis is to seek a way of improving these spaces for dwellers. As the case 7

Introduction


study looks at the renovation of a rental apartment complex, the focus is on current and future rental tenants. Other stakeholders include the property management organisation. I conceptualise ‘improving spaces’ as developing spaces to be of more value to people’s everyday lives. Value is taken as meaning “the importance, worth, or usefulness of something” (Oxford dictionary). This framing allows for multiple interpretations of how shared spaces could be improved encompassing monetary, cultural, and environmental considerations. Along with ‘renovation,’ other terms relevant to this study include ‘refurbishment’, ‘retrofit’, ‘remodelling’, ‘modernisation’, and ‘building transformation, conversion, modification, and extension’, all terms with denote an improvement to an existing building beyond technical maintenance.

Methods The thesis question is formed through literary review, precedent studies and discussions with professionals, and explored through a practical case study. The case study involves a design process which engages with a real situation and is therefore what Inge Mette Kirkeby (2009) calls “context-dependent research-based knowledge”, in that “the researcher’s interpretation is embedded in the results”. This kind of research is described as the “field method” in the book “Design research through practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom” (Koskinen et al., 2011, see chapter 5). This is a method of doing what Koskinen calls “constructive design research”, where design and research is integrated. The aim is to draw wider conclusions from findings born out of a deeper investigation of a specific context. I treat the case study as a conventional architectural design task of developing sketch designs for the future development of the shared spaces of an apartment building complex. Integrated into this, is the “expanded” role - that of easing participation of residents in the making of the shared spaces. Established collaborative design methods are employed during this expanded process such as group interviews and a workshop-style open-doors event, as well as storytelling and open-ended representative techniques for stimulating dialogue, tools used particularly in user experience studies conducted in other design fields. The influence of the expanded process on the conventional process is reflected on, in order to gain an insight into the research question - how can an architect increase a kind of resident participation which improves the living environment in the context of necessary technical renovation of apartment buildings in Finland? The methods are evaluated in this light - what works well in drawing out useful information or generating a meaningful conversation, and how does this additional knowledge and input go towards making better proposals?

Introduction

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Part I

Background

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Part I: Background


Chapter 1

Towards improved housing

The underlying idea to an architect’s role in improving housing for dwellers is that architects have a social responsibility beyond meeting minimum standards and the client’s demands. Architect Jeremy Till (2009, p182) emphasises that “issues of social ethics are inherent in the design of any building”. This chapter investigates methods, strategies and skills architects employ in acting on this responsibility in the context of housing design, the focus being on apartment buildings.

Shifting practice In the last half century, there has been a shift in the means architectural practice has sought to improve people’s residential environments. Modernist housing had a concrete social agenda. Today, in the European context, it is no longer sufficient to fulfil people’s humanitarian needs, but rather also people’s less tangible, diversifying and more individualised needs. This section traces this shift, from object to process, from basic needs to less tangible needs. Kone & Silta Oy’s workers’ housing Built in 1929, this housing scheme’s spacious leafy inner courtyard constrasted with the tight courtyards of inner-city housing. (image: Karl Hakli, HKM, 1969)

Modernist architects took on the task of designing affordable but high quality housing for all. Housing would be improved in tangible ways. Le Corbusier’s Pavillion Suisse, designed between 1930-1931, was about “liberation from the soot and imprisonment of the nineteenth-century slums; provision of the essential joys of light, space and greenery for all” (Curtis, 1996). In Finland in the 20th century, architects played an important role in developing housing in order to positively effect the everyday lives of the ordinary Finn. Conditions in innercity housing were cramped and tuberculosis was rife. Like elsewhere in Europe, new housing in Finland would provide spaciousness, natural light and proximity to nature. Kone & Silta Oy’s workers’ housing completed in 1929 in Vallila in Helsinki demonstrates this ethos with its large leafy inner courtyards (see image). After the war these ideas were developed into schemes with ever more openness. The enclosed courtyard was replaced with freestanding buildings, allowing for all apartments to equally enjoy the sunlight, views and connection with nature. This evolution of the courtyard is depicted a diagram series from 1931 published in the Swedish functionalism exhibition pamphlet “Acceptera”. Post second world-war housing design in Finland sought to provide for the needs of standard users and promote idealistic social agendas. The design of apartment buildings

Evolution of the housing block Courtyards progressed from being enclosed spaces to being larger, more open and lightfilled spaces. (image: Acceptera, 1931)

sought to ease the housewife’s everyday life, by providing a direct view from the kitchen of children playing indoors and outdoors in the sandbox. The privacy of the family was emphasised in contrast to a more collective way of living common in the countryside, as a means of strengthening the institution of the nuclear family. (Saarikangas, 2002) A normative approach to housing design ensures our basis needs are met. The more recent introduction of building standards regarding accessibility has both eased residents’ everyday lives tangibly and promoted the longer term value of the housing stock. However, standards do not address individual and diversifying needs and desires of people. In this light, architectural practice has taken on different methods of improving housing, shifting Towards improving housing

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its focus from form to process, and from standardised typologies to more customised dwellings. This shift began already in the late 1960s with participatory design.

Participation of resident Participatory design is a term that covers a wide array of concepts and methods. This thesis is concerned with a type of participation that leads to better living environments. Participation can increase choice for the resident and empower the resident. Housing that is more customised or more conducive to being customised by the user is more in tune with the diverse and individual needs of users.

Appropriation, customisation by resident, self-build The participation of residents in the making of spaces can be enabled through designing spaces that are conducive to being appropriated by residents. This is a way of designing for the participation of unknown future users. Designing flexible spaces that are adaptable to many uses, is a means of providing the user with the choice as to how they want to use the space. Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till (2005) suggest flexible housing be defined “as housing that is designed for choice at the design stage, both in terms of social use and construction, or designed for change over its lifetime.” Flexibility is a way of ensuring the longer term value of spaces. If spaces are too locked-in to immediate needs they will be less capable of meeting needs of future users. One concrete way of doing this is “through consideration of the use of space, i.e. through the elimination of tight-fit functionalism and rooms that can be used or accessed in only one way” (Till & Schneider, 2005). Participation through flexibility can be taken further by designing raw or unfinished spaces, enabling the resident themselves to customise the spatial layout and fit-out of dwellings. Architect John Habraken devised a method for flexibility, described in his book “Supports, an Alternative to Mass Housing” (1962 (English edition 1972)). The overall framework and structure of the building which Habraken called the “support” is separated from the “infill”. The support is mass produced, whereas the infill is manipulated and customised on a small scale by the individual user. The user participates in the making of the space. The Tila housing block in Arabianranta in Helsinki built in 2010 and designed by architect Pia Ilonen of Talli architects is based on this thinking (see image). The building was built in two stages. First the infrastructure of the building with all its services and the raw apartment spaces were constructed. In the second phase, the individual dwellers constructed the internal space-making walls, surfaces, kitchens and mezzanine levels. Along with designing unfinished space, dwellings can be designed so as to be conducive to further construction by the resident according to their changing needs or financial situation. Small-scale residential buildings have been designed in this respect to easily respond to social change. In Finland, the single-family houses known as ‘rintamamiestalot’ were

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Towards improving housing

Resident customisation The spatial layout and fitout of the Tila housing block, built in 2010 in Arabianranta in 2012, is customised by individual dwellers. (image source: www.talli.fi)


Designed for change Extension possibilities of the post-war “rintamamies“ single family house-type. (image source: Rintamamiestalon korjausopas, 2005)

designed by architects during the post-second world war reconstruction period to easily accommodate future extensions and conversions (see image). This allowed for an initial minimum investment at a time when resources were scarce. The value of the building could increase over time. A more recent example is the Quinta Monroy social housing project in Chile designed by Elemental architects and constructed in 2004 (see image). The houses were designed to be conducive to further construction. Gaps were left between the dwellings, which initially functioned as terraces, but could later be built on by the occupants, and thereby adding two rooms. Designed for change Quinta Monroy social housing project in Chile designed by Elemental architects and constructed in 2004. (image source: www.archdaily.com)

The final step, where residents have almost complete control, is to design a system, with which people can easily build their own houses. Walter Segal’s design for a self-build housing system based on a timber frame construction empowers users to create their own homes according to their own needs.

Collaborative design process Participatory design Byker Wall, a social housing project built between 1969-1975 in England, involved an intensive inclusive design process. (image source: commons.wikimedia.org)

What usually comes to mind on hearing the term participatory design is the idea that designers and users collaborate at design stage on the creation of the final design outcome. This type of participatory design took place already in the late 1960s in reaction to the perceived failure of mass housing projects, which was seen as being due to a lack of communication between architects and users. Architects began developing new approaches to housing design, which involved users in the design process (Curtis, 1996, p591). Byker Wall, a social housing project headed by architect Ralph Erskine, involved an intense participatory design process. The project, located in Newcastle upon Tyne in England, was built between 1969-1975 to rehouse shipyard and factory workers. A community office was set up in the neighbourhood which had an open door policy, inviting local residents to drop in and share their views, with the idea of creating a dialogue between architect and user. More recently, architectural discourse has examined the participatory design process more critically, as opposed to simplistically deeming all participation to be good, and nonparticipation to be bad. The emphasis is more on participation towards better built environments. The book “Making Room for People: Choice, Voice and Liveability in Residential Places” (Qu & Hasselaar, 2011) suggests that “a participatory planning and design process can be used as an instrument, but not as an aim in itself, for community building, which will ultimately lead to higher social performance and quality of the living environment.” Methods of participation have come under scrutiny. There is an emphasis on the Towards improving housing

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importance of the expertise of both architect and user and the two-way communication between both, as opposed to users being simply informed of plans that have already been decided on, or on the other end of the scale architects acting as mere technical advisors to users. “The dwellers themselves have the best understanding of the logistics of their everyday, and combining careful listening with thorough professional knowledge can lead to a more efficient plan” (Qu & Hasselaar, 2011). Jeremy Till (2005) emphasises the need for meaningful and transformative communication. “The architect (as citizen expert) needs to listen to, draw out and be transformed by the knowledge of the user (as expert citizen).” These issues regarding participation have been extensively addressed in the context of planning. The ladder of citizen participation by Sherry R Arnstein’s (1969) is a simplified representation of the wide range of different degrees of participation (see diagram). Planning theory has grappled with how to conduct participatory planning of shared urban space with people with diverse needs and worldviews. The power structures involved, the unrealistic idealism of reaching consensus and the inherently political nature of the process has been discussed. Davidoff ’s (1965) article “Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning”, answers the question as to what is appropriate planning for a society with diverse needs by proposing the planner become a political activist as part of a democratic planning process where many city plans are created as opposed to one. More recently, Finnish architect Kimmo Lapintie (2001) emphasised the role of a planner as a mediator between the complex web of stakeholders involved in the planning process with all its asymmetries of power. Planners should not be aloof, but rather “should become more aware of his or her own role as the producer of local power, instead of retreating to rational, artistic, or other types of distancing professional strategies”. Planning theory has dealt with the issues of communication between professionals and non-professionals. John Friedmann’s text, ‘Retracking America: A theory of Transactive Planning’ (1973), describes the problem of the widening gulf between the planner and the client, and their inability to exchange meaningful messages. Friedmann recommends a process of mutual learning between planner and client. Other design fields, such as product and interaction design, have delved deeper into the methods used during participatory design, when conducting user experience studies. It is well established that simply asking users about their needs is not enough, due in part to the notion of tacit knowledge, knowledge which cannot be verbalised. It has been found that it is during face-to-face interaction between users and designers where the tacit knowledge comes out (Heiskanen et al, 2010). The practical research of this thesis involves the design of shared residential space. It is therefore dealing with the same aforementioned challenges of collaborating with diverse people and of how to facilitate meaningful communication between architect and non-architect.

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Towards improving housing

Author’s diagram based on Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of citizen participation


Stairwell of bourgeois apartment buildings Entrance space of apartment building built in 1900, Uudenmaankatu 9, Helsinki. Architects: Nyström, Petrelius, Penttilä. (image: Karl Hakli, HKM, 1974)

Shared spaces in apartment buildings Shared spaces of apartment buildings are defined in this thesis as all those spaces beyond the continuous private space of the individual apartment. This section looks at what strategies architects have employed when considering the design of these shared spaces with the view to improving housing for dwellers. The design of shared spaces of apartment buildings in particular has been a way for architects to have a positive impact on the living environment. Shared spaces have been designed to be the grandest, most decorative spaces of a building. Architects have seen these spaces as a way of offering luxury to residents by virtue of being a shared resource, promoting positive social encounters, or as a way of thinking about the apartment in a more spatially imaginative way. The shared entrance spaces of bourgeois apartment buildings built in the 19th and early 20th century in Finland are these buildings’ most significant spaces (see image). They are grand, decorative and spatially unique, relying on the artistic and spatial skills of the architect or master builder. These representational spaces signified the grandeur of the apartment space to come. For the modernist architect, shared spaces in apartment buildings was a way of offering luxury to all in society. This is evident in the Unité d’Habitation designed by Le Corbusier. Built between 1947-1952 in Marseilles, its roof terrace with swimming pool and views of the Mediterranean where among the comforts provided for its dwellers (see image). Another element of the architectural design of shared spaces in modernist housing is the belief in the social benefit of collectivity. In the 1920s in the Soviet Union architects made plans for housing complexes which emphasised the design of shared spaces. Residential buildings would offer their occupants “new possibilities of enriching social experiences. The well-lit access corridor could become a sort of forum, a setting for the development of purely collective functions and social exchanges”(Anatole, 1970 (1967), p129-130). Collectivity is not always seen as a positive thing or realistic in today’s plural society. Architect Karin Theunissen challenges the traditional enclosed Dutch perimeter block as having a too strict separation between private and public in light of a new social context, as there is only one way of interpreting the use of these spaces - as a collective space for the residents of the housing complex. Theunissen’s writing is based on the Austin case study Towards improving housing

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of Venturi Scott Brown and the writings of Ignasi de Solà-Morales. Theunissen argues for a courtyard space that is more open to the city and public sphere of the street and therefore

Shared luxury of roof terrace The roof terrace of the Unité d’Habitation, designed in 1947-1952 by Le Corbusier offers expansive views to the Medditeranean. (author’s image)

open to diverse interpretations of use and not burdened with the “aspiration of positive community life”. Shared space does not need to mean that it is equally for all, and to be used together. (Theunissen, 2006) Shared spaces have been designed in a way that leaves it open to the user to interpret for themselves the use and nature of the space. As discussed in the previous chapter, enabling choice in how a space is used is a means of designing for the participation of the user in the making of the space. Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger’s measure of an architect’s success “is the way spaces are used, the diversity of activities which they attract, the opportunities they provide for creative reinterpretation” (Forty, 2004). In a housing project in Haarlemmer Houttuinen in Amsterdam, the “living street” (see image) designed by Hertzberger in 1979 is a space designed to be conducive to appropriation by residents. Shared spaces is an opportunity for creative ways of thinking about the apartment and idea of the private realm of the home. Architect Xavier Monteys proposes the idea of “house discontinuity” as a way of re-thinking housing, whereby an apartment has a room or rooms in another location in the property that is not accessed through the apartment proper. “In many cases one could think of the ground floor as the place to situate rooms independent of the homes for diverse uses in time. A kind a satellite room of the main dwelling that is found some floors above” (Monteys, 2007). In the Finnish context, shared spaces in apartment buildings are discussed due to their under-use. Finnish researcher Marketta Kyttä (Kotimaisema, 2012) comments on the fact 15

Towards improving housing

Shared space conducive to appropriation Housing project in Haarlemmer Houttuinen in Amsterdam designed by Hertzberger in 1979 (image source: van Bergeijk, 1997)


that many resident clubrooms lie empty in Finland. Kyttä suggests that in order for shared spaces to be an opportunity for encounters with neighbours, they have to be based on actual need. Kyttä gives the example of all postboxes being placed in one location, so that encounters will happen inevitably.

Housing design in Finland This section explores issues that architects and researchers are concentrating on today in the Finnish context in terms of improving housing design. Particular emphasis is put on ideas that could feed into the design of housing renovation. Echoing the previous discussion on the shift in architectural practice, in comparison to the decades following the war, housing research today in Finland is dealing with less tangible social needs. The emphasis is on understanding how people experience their home and searching for ways to diversify the existing housing stock in an increasingly plural society and in a market where demand outstrips supply, offering solutions such as increased flexibility and resident involvement.

Diversity and providing choice Whereas the post-war housing industry in Finland was successful in efficiently meeting the housing shortage, today the challenge lies in how this same industry can change to better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society. An ageing population, an increase in single-person households, changing family structures and a growing number of people of different cultural backgrounds has contributed to the diversification of Finland’s society. For example, between 1990 and 2010 the share of foreign-language inhabitants in Helsinki jumped from one percent to 7.5 percent of the population (City of Helsinki Urban Facts, 2010). An increasingly multicultural society is also due to Finns’ diversifying ways of living (Juntto, 2010). The city of Helsinki recommends that housing diversify to meet diversifying needs (Esikaupunkien Renessansi). Researchers also stress the need for more choice in Finland’s housing market (for example Juntto, 2010, p294). The challenge for apartment building designers lies in how to cater for individual needs and provide choice. The previously mentioned Tila housing block in Arabianranta built in 2010 and designed by Talli architects incorporates this provision of choice into the design. Each inhabitant has the control over their own dwelling’s fit out and spatial layout. This project is however the exception. Architect and researcher Karin Krokfors (2010) criticises the existing housing industry in Finland, which, controlled by large risk-evasive construction companies, produces standard housing unit layouts, with little or no variation or possibility for new concepts. Krokfors also argues that other factors such as the area plan and building regulation make it difficult to introduce new housing concepts.

Towards improving housing

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Designing for change and unpredictability Another aspect challenging architects when designing housing in Finland is the constantly changing social structure and the unpredictability of this change. It is predicted that the number of people aged 65 and over will almost double from 905,000 in 2009 to 1.79 million by 2060 (Statistics Finland, 2009). However, other demographic changes such as the structure of households are more difficult to predict and change more rapidly (Juntto, 2010). For example, in 2008 there was over a million people living in single-person households, which was a 42% increase since 1990, something people had not expected in 1990 (ibid.). Many stable and long-standing trends that are taken for granted could alter unexpectedly in the future, for example economic growth, family-centredness, individualism and people’s dream of living in a single-family house (ibid.). In fact, a survey in 2011 showed that the popularity of apartment living is on the rise (Suomen Ympäristö, 2011). One proposal for responding to this change and unpredictability is to design flexible housing. Krokfors (2008) emphasises the importance of building housing with more than one generation in mind. By producing buildings that are unwanted or underused by future generations, we are running the risk of ghettoisation or even demolition. Flexibility is a way of accounting for future unknown users at design stage and ensuring longer-term value. We cannot afford to constantly rebuild our housing buildings and therefore buildings must be able to respond to social change.

Importance of emphasising softer values of sustainability Architects criticise the technocratic nature of construction in Finland. In the context of sustainable development “measurable qualities are emphasised while qualitative factors that are hard to measure are easily left unexamined” (Krokfors, 2009). Architect Markku Hedman (2011) emphasises that in Finland “sustainable building is implemented from a markedly technical-economic viewpoint, and social and cultural dimensions are subservient to it”. The architect has a central role to play in making sure these aspects are taken into consideration.

Involvement of resident Architects in Finland pinpoint the current distance between architectural practice and residents as a challenge to developing housing in Finland to better meet residents’ needs. Architects are far away from residents and have limited influence (Krokfors, 2010). Architect Esko Kahri (2011) believes housing architecture should have more resident involvement. Architects have a reduced capacity to respond to social problems and changing family structures, due to the predominance of prefabricated house packages, which don’t have significant architectural input. Kahri calls for an urban housing reform based on open building where the resident is provided with options within the framework of a controlled process. However, there are a growing number of multi-dwelling projects where the residents and housing architect are brought together. For example, an association of like-minded 17

Towards improving housing


people called ‘Hem in Stan’ have initiated the construction of an apartment building for themselves in Jätkäsaari in Helsinki (see www.maltatalo.fi). They have hired an architect and are themselves leading the decision making process instead of one of the large construction companies. There are a growing number of projects where groups of terrace houses are built with the future residents involved in the design process. This requires additional skills of the architect. Landscape architect and researcher Eija Hasu describes one such project in Helsinki in Malminkartano (see image). Residents involved in design process Housing project in Malminkartano, Helsinki. (image source: Hasu, 2010)

Eija Hasu (2010) reveals a number of challenges and observations in relation to the role of the architect. Residents are the experts of their own current ways of living, and as such it can be difficult for people to imagine their needs over time. It is important for the architect to make sure the dwelling layout can deal with changes in the future. The architect has to be able to interpret a resident’s dreams and wishes, and make sure the design caters for the humdrum of everyday life. The proposals of an architect are important as a reference or starting point for residents. One issue is that people do not necessarily want to pay for the demanding workload of the architect and the hours needed. The could be improved on the architect’s part, for example by having ready-made lists in reference to different stages of people’s lives and from experience of prior projects. These challenges are also relevant to the renovation of housing. The following chapter investigates the role of architectural practice in existing buildings, looking for opportunities to incorporate participation of residents in the design process and spatial flexibility.

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Chapter 2

Towards improving existing housing

When considering that residential renovation currently makes up a greater share of the European residential market than new-build (Vries, 2011), it is clear that the engagement of architectural practice in housing renovation is important in improving living environments.

Beyond technical maintenance Words used to describe architectural engagement with existing buildings imply more than technical maintenance - renovation, building transformation, extension, conversion, retrofit, refurbishment, modernisation and remodelling. French architects Druot, Lacaton & Vassal (2007), who have been involved in numerous renovation projects of post-second world war housing and have written a book on the subject, argue renovation should be about doing more. “It's important never to limit oneself, to content oneself with only fulfilling a few minimums. Whether it's post-war building, the rehabilitation of facades from the 1980s or the "repairs" of today, it's always been a question of doing the minimum”. The precedent studies described in chapter 4, including a project by Lacaton & Vassal, illustrate different Renovation leads to unique housing Attic conversion in Punavuorenkatu, Helsinki by architect Juha Ilonen. (image source: www.rakennusperinto.fi)

possibilities for the physical alterations to existing housing - demolition and rebuild, partial demolition and remodelling, and infill building. Architectural input in the renovation of a residential building can increase a building’s value in a concrete way, for example by improving the energy performance of a building, and therefore improving residents’ comfort and reducing running costs, as demonstrated by the project in Raahe described in the precedent study. The plan of a project in Saint-Nazaire in France (see image) by Lacaton & Vassal, illustrates concretely the increase in space and light through renovation. Where the land value is high, many unheated attic spaces of apartment buildings in Finland have been converted into unique, spacious and bright apartments, enjoying rooftop views (see image). The sale of these apartments help finance necessary renovation and improvements such as the construction of a shared sauna for the building. As demonstrated by attic conversions and the partial demolition of the precedent studies in chapter 4, renovation is an opportunity to do something architecturally unique. Engaging

More light and space through renovation Existing and proposed apartment layout for a housing block in Saint-Nazaire, France, 2010 by Lacaton & Vassal architects. (image source: www.lacatonvassal.com) 19

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with existing buildings is a way of working around the building regulations. “(C)onversion, the only possible solution in order to escape the building standards” (Druot, Lacaton & Vassal, 2007, p73). Those issues discussed in the previous chapter - designing for diversifying, less tangible needs and designing with social change in mind so as to ensure longterm value, are also relevant to renovation. The proposed solutions to these issues, such as increasing spatial flexibility and resident involvement in the design process, can also be integrated into existing buildings. The plan of the project in Saint-Nazaire by Lacaton & Vassal demonstrates that flexibility can be increased. The spatial expansion increases choice as to how spaces are used through additional entrances to rooms and a gallery which can be “informally programmed by the residents according to their needs (Druot, Lacaton & Vassal, 2007, p20-21).” As renovation inherently involves more contact with residents, and is therefore an opportunity for increasing resident involvement in the design process.

Closer contact with residents The closer contact to social context involved in renovation is an opportunity to come up with new and better design proposals, which designing new housing for unknown users does not afford. Druot, Lacaton & Vassal (2007) see conversion as a unique opportunity, which designing new buildings does not provide. “(B)asically conversion enables us to promote a new way of looking, free of preconceived ideas, a persistent paying of attention to all that exists, to what's already there, to all those things that develop at times, even without an architect”. They believe that there is always value in the existing, and thus have set out to prove that by renovating these blocks while including the inhabitants in the process will save money in the long run. They propose analysing “the pre-existing from the inside looking out and not from the outside looking in. Thanks to this operation a more concrete view of reality emerges that is more realistic and closer than the usual distant way of looking of the planners.” They believe that “every individual who lives in one of these big apartment-block complexes must enjoy the same consideration that any client who commissions the design of a private villa from us would enjoy.” This increased involvement of residents in renovation brings with it a need for skills in the practitioner, similar to those described in relation to the participatory design process of new buildings. This has been acknowledged in the context of plumbing renovation in Finland.

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Renovation growing bigger than new-build The graph shows the breakdown of the Finnish housing industry into new-build and renovation over a 30 year period. (adapted by author from Lappalainen, 2012; originally Tilastokeskus, VTT)

Housing renovation in Finland This section investigates renovation of apartment buildings in Finland. Following the European-wide trend, there is a shift in focus in Finland from new construction to renovation (Ympäristöministeriö, 2007). The renovation industry is growing more valuable than the new-build industry, and this share is growing constantly (see graph). Finland’s housing stock will not significantly improve by only engaging with new housing design. Though the weight of architectural discourse on housing renovation does not reflect the reality of the high proportion of renovation in all construction work, the construction industry as a whole has done work towards developing procedures to ease decision-making processes in renovation and promote longer term thinking. These procedures can be taken advantage of by architects in order to have a positive impact on the Finland’s housing stock. The literature on renovation in Finland stresses its service-orientation, and in this light the need for new skills in construction professionals. Again, this is an opportunity for architects to incorporate increased meaningful participation into renovation.

New guidelines for the development of existing residential buildings Legislation and guidelines have been developed over the last decade in Finland outlining what procedures are to be employed in the renovation of housing buildings. These aim to ease decision-making processes, promote longterm thinking, and go towards ensuring there are no significant unexpected financial demands on residents, due to a building ailment being left untreated. There is now a requirement for buildings surveys to be conducted every five years. The idea with the building survey (in Finnish: kuntoarvio) is that it gives an overview of the technical, mechanical, electrical and overall condition of the building. By planning in advance, savings can be made in the long run. For example, by exclusively concentrating on the plumbing renovation of a building, and calculating only those costs, it will be more expensive in the long run. (Markku Lappalainen, 2012) The first building survey is to be conducted when a building is ten years old. Thereafter building surveys are conducted every five years. The building survey is based mainly on the sensory observations of an expert and on the building manual (in Finnish: huoltokirja), where all the renovation history is documented. As concealed building defects are not detected in a building survey, the surveyor may recommend a more detailed investigation. The building survey should start off with a resident survey, which asks about comfort issues such as ventilation and temperature, and also for development suggestions. This resident 21

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Life of an apartment building The diagram shows a simplified representation of the development of a building over time in accordance with building guidelines. Decision making on renovation procedures begins already at building survey stage, which includes the resident survey. (author’s diagram)

survey dictates the work of the planner and also informs the residents about the future work (Markku Lappalainen, 2012). The main objective of the building survey is to obtain information which will act as the basis for the building upkeep plan (in Finnish: kunnossapitosuunnittelu). The building surveyor comes up with a proposal for the building upkeep plan which is a “longterm plan” (in Finnish: pitkän tähtäimen suunnitelma (PTS)). The proposal includes recommended upkeep and refurbishment measures. The cost and timing of these measures are estimated for example for the next ten years. The upkeep proposal acts as a basis for the upkeep plan, which must be agreed on in the housing company meeting. Subsequently, the actual renovation programme is produced. The next step after that is the planning stage of a particular renovation measures. The literature shows that the resident survey is extremely important. It influences the entire process (see diagram). This is an opportunity for the architect to facilitate a participatory process involving constructive communication between architect and resident, towards improving existing building.

Need for different skills It is acknowledged that the renovation industry has a work to do to come to terms with the experiences of residents. The IKE research project (Virtanen et al., 2005) looked at development needs for resident-oriented building renovation and modernisation. It was found that in order to better meet the changing needs of different kinds of residents in the context of building renovation in Finland, there is a need for a more resident-orientated renovation process of ageing apartment buildings (Virtanen et al., 2005). Since then guidelines have Towards improving existing housing

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been published on ‘plumbing renovation that is favourable to the resident’ (in Finnish: Asukasmyönteinen LVIST-linjasaneeraus) in 2010. The IKE project (Virtanen et al, 2005) found that the experience of residents during the construction phase of a renovation project is dependant on the ability of the contractor to interact with residents. It recommended that as well as defining technical and economic goals of a renovation intervention, end-users’ desires and plans should be investigated. At the early design phase, there should be experts with which residents can discuss their own needs and queries. The IKE project recommends surveying the aims of a building’s upcoming renovation project by employing user-study methods such as resident questionnaires and group interviews. The construction industry has acknowledged that new skills are needed. The Finnish Ministry for the Environment’s renovation strategy for 2007-2017 emphasises that the involvement of the current user brings its own challenges. The president of the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries (in Finnish: Rakennusteollisuus) commented that plumbing renovation is completely different to the construction of new buildings because it demands the ability to provide a service to clients, housing companies and residents (Helsingin Sanomat, 11.6.2012).

Architect’s role The architect’s role in the early stages of the renovation procedure is not explicit in the guidelines. The guidelines state that the building survey is to be conducted by an expert in the field. However, Markku Lappalainen emphasises the importance of architectural input in his book on the renovation of concrete-panel apartment buildings “Betonielementtitalon arvokorjaus” (2012). An architect, who is specialised in renovation, is the best at grasping the whole picture (Markku Lappalainen, 2012, p3). Lappalainen (2012) discusses an expanded version of the building survey. It can be agreed that the building survey would also include for example a survey of the usability and comfort and alteration needs of the property’s spaces. Additionally, the housing company can commission the building surveyor to propose a few different options based on cost and quality level. The guidelines on ‘plumbing renovation that is favourable to the resident’ (in Finnish: Asukasmyönteinen LVIST-linjasaneeraus, 2010) is more explicit about the role of the architect. It states that an architect is needed for usability and aesthetic considerations. An architect can investigate whether work should be done to the shared spaces of the property in conjunction with the plumbing renovation, for example changing the use of underused spaces. During the planning of the renovation work, options for generating income can be investigated by an architect, such as the possibility of renting or selling spaces. Architectural input is required at planning stage when there are spatial changes to be made, and for visualising different options. One of the objectives laid out in the Ministry ’s renovation strategy is the promotion of the adaptability of spaces through renovation, as a means of increasing the usability of buildings. 23

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Korvo.fi, a website set up by the Ministry of the Environment on renovation, emphasises that it is important that the renovation planner has an education in architectural history and an understanding of old building techniques.

Discussions with architects working in the field I had discussions with two architects involved with the renovation of 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland. Here are the main points I took away with me regarding the role of the architect in this context. •

It is important for the architect to be visionary and innovative. Many building owners only take action when there is a problem. The market drives bigger changes. If there are no empty apartments in rental buildings, there will be no reason to do anything. The challenge for architects lies with convincing the client that the investment involved in alterations to the building will be profitable. Different, more inventive arguments can be used. For example, it could be argued that an alteration would be beneficial, as it would result in people moving less often. Tools need to be developed for depicting profitability in the longterm.

Architects should promote taking the longer-term use of the building into account. One means of doing this is to ensure accessibility is incorporated into all shared spaces.

It is difficult to ask people what they want. In general, we are as human beings very static and do not like change. It is difficult to get people to think in the longer term.

Resident nights, where possible future renovation work is discussed, can be dangerous because one person can dominate. It is a challenge to get the quieter voices heard.

Different solutions for the use of space such as key systems are available. These are solutions the architect can propose.

Ideas for alterations of 1960s and 1970s era housing include a need for spatial openness, visibility and letting shared spaces breath. Though it is generally not viable to remove structural walls, making openings in structural walls is reasonable in cost.

Role of resident This section investigates the role of resident in renovation in Finland, concentrating on rental tenants, as the case study comprises of a rental housing company. The upkeep plan of a building, which determines which particular renovation measures a building will undertake and within what timescale, must be agreed on in a housing company meeting. For privately owned apartment buildings the housing company comprises of those who own shares in the company, which for all practical purposes means the individual

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owners of the apartments. In the case of rental buildings, individual tenants do not have the same legal rights to vote on building upkeep plans. However, legislation for resident democracy (in Finnish: asukasdemokratia) was introduced in 1991 with the aim of promoting communication, collaboration and trust between the owners and tenants of rental housing, as well as increasing the sense of mutual responsibility in issues concerning the rental building. Resident democracy is a way of achieving savings to some degree in matters regarding the running of the building, for example water and cleaning charges. It is a means for residents to influence and take part in the decision making regarding the management and running of rental buildings. Resident democracy provides the means for residents to make proposals and advise on renovation plans. Resident committees have a right to information on renovation plans. Resident democracy relies on the volunteering of residents in each housing complex to run and be members of the resident committee. Therefore, not all buildings have a resident committee. From my own discussions with residents of rental housing, I came across the opinion on numerous occasions that resident democracy was just for show, rather than actually giving decision-making rights to tenants. This mirrors the discussion on participation in chapter 1. Where would resident democracy stand on Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation? On the other hand, during the case study, I also came across the opinion that resident democracy was a positive thing and worked well in having influence on small additions to the living environment, such as benches in external spaces. Even on a purely economic level, rental tenant participation in renovation decision is important. In state-subsidised rental housing owned by the city of Helsinki, the cost of renovation is reflected in the rent to a certain degree, though the costs are partially spread out throughout the city’s properties (see www.hekalaiset.fi). From my own research and observation, it is clear that rental housing has been more actively renovated than privately owned housing. Decision making is easier, as there is only one client. However the same guidelines apply to rental housing as to private housing. The resident survey is equally an opportunity for architects to facilitate meaningful participation, and bringing resident expertise of rental buildings. The following chapter takes a step back from the architectural viewpoint, and investigates residents’ interaction with apartment buildings, as well as other societal factors influencing the living environment, concentrating on 1960s and 1970s era housing.

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Chapter 3

1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland Apartments make up 44% of all dwellings (Statistics Finland), and apartment buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s make up the large proportion of those apartment buildings. They are reaching the age where they are in need of larger renovation interventions such as plumbing and facade renovations, many of which have been undertaken already. Much of the discussion on housing renovation in Finland has therefore centred on this era of housing. This chapter looks beyond architectural design, and focuses on the wider context of society. What were the other factors shaping 1960s and 1970s apartment buildings and their shared spaces? What are the needs for change on a societal level, beyond technocratic considerations?

Birth and development of suburbs in Finland The 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland were for the most part constructed within new large suburban areas. This section explores the construction and development of these suburbs. An early Finnish suburb The construction of Kontula began in 1963. It was built as a residential suburb dependant on greater Helsinki. Image shows this thesis’s case study buildings. (author’s image)

In the decades following the second world war Finland suffered a severe housing shortage. This was due to damaged buildings, the resettling of over 400,000 people and a stream of people moving to the cities (Huurme, 1991). The large proportion of the construction of new housing was in the form of suburbs surrounding the city. Construction of Tapiola,

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considered Finland’s first suburb, began in the 1950s. It was built as a self-sufficient settlement. The next suburbs to be built were Pihläjämäki in the early 1960s, closely followed by Kontula. These were built as residential suburbs dependant on greater Helsinki for employment and other services. Riitta Hurme (1991) describes in the book “Suomalainen lähiö Tapiolasta Pihlajamäkeen” (in English: The Finnish neighbourhood unit from Tapiola to Pihlajamäki) the progression of town-planning at the time. The planning of Tapiola embraced the ideas of Ebenezer Howard’s garden city, whereas the later forest suburbs of Pihläjämäki and Kontula are more in tune with the ideas of Le Corbusier’s city radieuse. This was a period of transformation of construction techniques. Pihläjämäki was the first housing area where concrete pre-fabrication was used on a large scale. The rationalisation of the construction of these suburbs is described in “Lähiöt ja tehokkuuden yhteiskunta”(in English: Suburbs and efficiency society, Hankonen, 1994) and “Kerrostalot 1960-1975” (in English: Multi-storey housing 1960-1975, Mäkiö et al., 1994). From as early as the end of the 1960s these suburbs received negative press coverage, which is described by Irene Roivainen in her PHD thesis “A sugar cube out in the forest: The suburb as a journalistic construct” (1999). Roivainen describes how newspapers had depicted the suburbs in a “problem-centred way” over the previous thirty years. However, a more recent discourse which Roivainen calls “’the suburb becomes Home’ discourse” had challenged the more “’problem-orientated discourse’”. “Elämää lähiössä” (in English: Life in the suburbs; Astikainen et al, 1997) told the story of suburbs from the point of view of its residents rather than the outsider expert, revealing the myriad of different lives and experiences both positive and negative. These suburbs have not been formed exclusively by the practitioner at their drawing board. Suburban inhabitants, rather than being mere passive users, are also active in the formation of suburban meanings (Saarikangas, 2002). There was a greater separation between public and private realms in these new housing areas. The privitisataion of the nuclear family was emphasised in the design of the suburbs (Saarikangas, 2002). Sociologist Matti Kortteinen’s (1982) emphasised the privatisation of the nuclear family in his study on the changing lifestyles of people living in the suburbs. The study showed that initially there were strong social networks amongst residents, due to the common fate of living in an area without adequate services. However, as the services improved, there was less to bind people. The study emphasised the diversity of value-systems of people living in the suburbs, and how the networks weakened as some families succeeded financially better than others - something that was first evident in the car park. Those networks that did remain were based on other things than the neighbourhood itself, such as professional and socioeconomic similarities, or similar hobbies. The redevelopment of this era of housing is currently in the lime-light. However, Finland’s first suburban improvement project began already in 1982 in Pormestarinluoto in Pori (see image), an area with 33 apartment buildings (fi.wikipedia.org). The vegetation of external green spaces was enhanced; and a sense of enclosure created with the introduction of small-scale storage structures, play areas, and fencing. The 1990s saw a significant amount of research and interest in these suburban housing areas, including the Finnish Ministry 27

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Redevelopment began already in the 1980s The external spaces of Porin Pormestarinluoto housing area were enhanced with small-scale structures and planting. (image: Hagan, 1996)

of the Environment’s Renovation Programme (in Finnish: REMONTTI-ohjelma) between 1992-1996. After a long gap there is momentum again in recent years in the future envisioning of this era of housing. Though the quality of the Finnish suburban living environment has been criticised heavily, it has also been seen architecturally in a positive light more recently. These areas’ mature vegetation and sense of space and closeness to nature make them unique, as newer housing areas take on other qualities. Finnish architect Sari Viertiö (2010) ponders whether the minimalism of this era of housing may develop in time to be intriguing as contemporary housing buildings are clad in an array of different materials but have a similarly streamlined underlying structure and even less polished apartment layouts.

Shaping of shared spaces This section studies aspects that shaped the shared spaces of 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings, by looking at the evolution of shared residential spaces in Finland over the last century. It illustrates how political factors (ideal of strengthening nuclear family), advances in technology (new building methods, emergence of home appliances), changes in social structure and lifestyles (change in working week), and scientific factors (understanding of lack of hygiene of cramped living conditions) effected the design and use of shared residential space.

Collectivity vs privitisation of nuclear family 1960s and 1970s era housing design in Finland has its roots in modernist housing design. One of the social ideas of early modernism is collectivism. This is evident in the architecture of the 1920s in the Soviet Union. “These buildings were no longer to be solid tracks of private apartments. The occupants were to enjoy services that the old landlords could never provide, namely, a whole series of collective facilities to make up for savings achieved at the expense of the individual living units. This was to be the material framework for a new style of living, that of the communal house, or dom-kommuna” (Anatole, 1970 (1967), p129130). The design of shared spaces was emphasised for its social benefits. “The well-lit access corridor could become a sort of forum, a setting for the development of purely collective 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland

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functions and social exchanges” (ibid.). Shared spaces were considered even more important than the private spaces by some architects, something which drew a lot of criticism (Anatole, 1970 (1967)p152). This criticism was based on the idea that shared spaces was a way of reducing the quality of apartments. “The communal spaces are essential to the modernist theorem” (Curtis, 1996). The importance of shared spaces in modernist thinking is evident in Le Corbusier’s design for the Unité d’Habitation built between 1947-1952 in Marseilles, with its grand entrance space and roof terrace with views of the Mediterranean (see image in Chapter 1). This same ideal is evident in Alvar Aalto’s design for an apartment block in the Hansaviertel in Berlin built in 1957 with its expansive entrance portico (see drawing), and Viljo Revell’s design for the socalled “Taskumatit” apartment buildings in Tapiola with its roof saunas and terraces built in 1953 (see image). Modernist apartment living would offer luxury to the masses.

Shared rooftop sauna and terrace “Taskumatti” apartment building designed by Viljo Revell built in 1953 in Espoo Tapiola. (image: J-P Kärnä, 2005)

However, the later version of the Unité d’Habitation built in Berlin in 1957 lacks the generous collective spaces. In post-war Finland with its severe housing shortage, luxurious shared spaces in apartment buildings were not the norm. Esko Suhonen (1970 (1963)) wrote in his study on the liveability of apartment living, that whereas shared spaces were seen as a means of upgrading living standards, they were also seen as a way of squeezing the individual apartment to the bare minimum. Suhonen (1970 (1963), p16) saw the increase in household activities carried out in shared spaces as weakening the role of housing in developing the institution of the family. Strengthening the nuclear family is evident in the design of other elements of the shared spaces of this era of housing. The nature of external space associated with apartment buildings in Helsinki has changed over the last hundred years. It developed from a private-collective enclosed courtyard space in the earlier half of the 19th century to an open semi-public space with the characteristic of a natural landscape in the 1960s and 1970s (see diagram in chapter 1). This change was influenced by the perception of the inner-city courtyard being

Generous shared entrance space Apartment block designed by Alvar Aalto and built in 1957 in the Hansaviertel in Berlin. A ramp leads to a shared playground. The openair entrance area was to serve as a place for social gatherings. 29

1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland


Household tasks in the courtyard A scene from working class life at the turn of the 20th century - drying clothes in winter in a courtyard in Punavuori, Helsinki. (image: Signe Brander, HKM, 1907)

an unhealthy environment for children. A more open laying out of buildings allowed for each apartment to enjoy sunlight, air and connection to nature. Along with changes in the urban structure came change in the activities that took place in the courtyard. In the early part of the 20th century the courtyard was an important space for household tasks (see image). Though some activities continue even to this day such as the beating of rugs, the courtyard space of the 1960s and 1970s apartment building was designed for the enjoyment of nature and a space for children to play under the surveillance of their carers. The design of external spaces of this era of housing was “regarded as a means of preventing idle loafing around street corners” with an emphasis on movement from one place to another (Saarikangas, 2002, p561).

Increasing importance of personal hygiene Linked in with the strengthening of the private realm was the idea of cleanliness. Along with the health benefits of increased space, natural light and air, post-war housing set out to improve the personal hygiene of Finns. It was believed everyone should have their own private shower or bathing facilities (Suhonen, 1970 (1963)). Personal hygiene facilities have developed to be exclusively part of the private realm. At the beginning of the 19th century apartment building occupants often shared toilet facilities. Cityblock public saunas were widespread. By the time the apartment buildings of 1960s were being designed, it was considered appropriate that every building have its own sauna. This has developed nowadays into a situation were it is normal to have private apartment saunas. Saarikangas links hygiene with the privatisation of the nuclear family (Saarikangas, 2002). In the 18th and earlier half of the 19th century it was common for families to take in extra tenants. This was a bit of extra income for the families but it also represented the communality that these people were used to from life in the countryside. Over time however this system fell out of favour. Those endeavouring to improve the living conditions of the working class were against the idea (Kahri & Pyykönen,1994, p102; Saarikangas, 2002, p81). Owning one’s own and cleanliness were linked with one another. The apartment became the private realm of the nuclear family (Saarikangas, 2002, p81). As the courtyard became more public in the name of health and wellbeing, the apartment became more private. According to Kortteinen’s study (1982) inhabitants of suburbs withdrew from the public life of 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland

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the courtyard, though Kortteinen attributed the reasons more to the diversifying of people’s value systems rather than the spatial design.

Advances in technology Technology has shaped the development of shared residential space. With the advance of home appliances there is less need for certain shared spaces. The availability of vacuum cleaners means that spaces dedicated to the airing and beating of rugs are less in demand. Suhonen (1970(1963), p174) predicted the end of laundry rooms in apartment buildings due in part to the prevalence of personal washing machines but also due to the growth in launderette businesses as they would provide the advantage of not having to wait for the machine to complete its cycle. At the end of the 1950s the Family Federation (in Finnish: Väestöliitto), a Finnish social and health sector organisation focused on families, called for the removal of basement cold storage spaces for food in favour of fridges in every apartment (see image). This was encouraged by apartment building contractors who complained about the expense of building cold storage spaces. Cold storage was seen as being ever more unnecessary with the development of supermarket services (Hankonen, 1994, p179). By 1979, the planning guidelines recommended that cold storage for food be organised within the apartment itself. The planning of apartment buildings in 1960s and 1970s was confronted with the need to answer to an increase in motorised traffic. The building statute required plot owners to reserve a certain amount of parking places. Suhonen (1970 (1963)) believed the future of the popularity of apartment buildings would be dependant on how well car traffic and parking could be organised. The guidelines regarding car parking space present a challenge to the redevelopment of these apartment buildings. Any additional housing units requires additional car parking spaces. The emergence of new construction techniques influenced the design of shared spaces. After the second world war there was a huge transformation happening on the building sites in Finland and all over Europe as construction processes were standardised and concrete pre-fabrication became widespread. These building techniques had effects on the planning of the green areas surrounding buildings. For example, a certain dimension of open space had to be available to one side of the buildings to accommodate cranes (Mäkiö et al., 1994). Prefabrication enabled a reduction of costs, something which the housing shortage demanded. Stairwells in apartment buildings in Finland of the early 19th century were grand spacious interstitial spaces linking street and apartment. The stairwells of apartment buildings built in the 1960s were tight, narrow functional spaces. The building regulation of 1959 allowed for stairwells to be solely lit by an artificial light source. The basement level was an element that could not be entirely standardised as its construction was site specific, requiring traditional construction methods which required time and therefore money. The Swedish 3M modular prefab system did away with the basement level altogether. It was made up of stairwell elements and different sized apartments. There was no basement level in this system at all. Storage spaces were located off the stairwells on 31

1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland

“Fridges in place of poor basement storage” At the end of the 1950s the Finnish Family Federation promoted fridges in apartments over the cold stores built in the basement of apartment buildings at the time. (image source: Hankonen, 1994)


the level of the apartments. (Hankonen, 1994)

Emergence of concept of free-time In the courtyards of housing buildings in Finnish cities at the turn of the 19th century, work and living were inseparable. Private and public life intermingled. (Saarikangas, 2002) By the 1960s this relationship had changed. The introduction of a five-day working week in 1967 increased the free-time of workers. In the 1960s terms such as “free-time service” (in Finnish: vapaa-ajan palvelu) and “recreational activities” (in Finnish: virkistystoiminta) came into use (Standertskjöld, 2011). A need for a new kind of shared space emerged. Suhonen (1970(1963)) discusses shared space in apartment buildings that are dedicated to handicrafts and free-time. Along with providing young people with the opportunity to partake in handicrafts, the same spaces could be used by other residents such as for card games, watching television or for family occasions. Free-time activities also brought on the need for “outdoor activity storage space” (in Finnish: ulkoiluvälinevarasto). These spaces only became widespread in apartment buildings after the war (Suhonen, 1970 (1963)). According to Suhonen there was more need for these kinds of storages spaces in industrial areas, where workers and school-goers were used to cycling, than the metropolitan area, where the bicycle was no longer used apart from as an outdoor or sport’s activity. Suhonen notes that the growth in the number of motorbikes had lead to a shortage of storage space in many houses. In housing regulations today, bicycle storage space is still categorised under “outdoor activity storage space”, giving the impression that bicycles are not yet considered a serious mode of commuting. These shifting and changing needs of residents brought on in part by wider societal factors brings with it the need for changing the physical. This chapter has emphasised the need for renovation of existing buildings beyond necessary technical refurbishment. The next chapter adopts an architectural perspective again, and explores how architectural practice has reacted to those changes.

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Chapter 4

Precedent study

This precedent study consists of seven built projects in Europe and three recently completed Finnish research projects all involving the renovation of apartment buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s. The study is conducted through an architectural lens. The physical alteration of the built environment is the reference point. What are the influencing factors and goals behind the physical alterations?

Redevelopment projects The first section investigates seven realised redevelopments of 1960s and 1970s era apartment buildings in Finland and elsewhere in Northern and Central Europe. Each of these projects were born out of the need to answer to a severe housing shortage in the decades following the second world war. The use of standardised prefabricated concrete elements made it possible to provide new homes at record speed to people living in crowded unhealthy housing. All shared the ideal of providing better housing to all. However, their redevelopment differ, emphasising the importance of place and social context.

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before renovation

after renovation

Kummatti Housing Company, Raahe, Finland constructed: 1966redevelopment: ongoing The city of Raahe is experiencing population loss. A third of the apartments at Kummatti rental housing company had been lying empty. Now it is undergoing a process of partial demolition and remodelling lead by Architect Harri Hagan. The work consists of the redevelopment of 13 apartment buildings, which includes three-storey and six-storey blocks. The project’s goal is to attract new residents, and modify the size and layout of existing apartments to better meet the needs of potential residents. The improvement of communal spaces has been emphasised, such as through the addition of rooftop saunas with outdoor terrace space. An effort has been made to make outdoor spaces more usable for residents, such as through the planting of edible apple trees. The target was to bring buildings beyond current energy standards and perform as low energy houses. Unused spaces were eliminated. North-facing apartments with the least passive solar gain were demolished, allowing for the internal circulation core of the six-storey blocks to receive natural light. An additional 100mm of insulation was added to the façade construction and 300mm to the exposed façades of demolished sections. Solar panels, wind turbines and heat recovery system were introduced. Windows and doors with better Uvalue were installed as well as glazed balconies. A new barbecue structure was constructed out of concrete elements from the demolition work.

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images before and after renovation

Haus 4 - Goethestrasse 25-31, Leinefelde, Germany constructed: 1960s/1970s redevelopment: completed 2003 This redevelopment of a housing block is one of a series of similar projects carried out by Stefan Forster Architekten in Leinefelde. This post-industrial eastern German city has been suffering from population loss since the fall of the Berlin wall. A housing block is partially demolished and remodelled in order to attract new residents to the empty structures and help provide income to the financially failing city. Complete demolition was avoided. The living environment is enhanced by reducing the scale of building masses, introducing generous terraces and providing ground floor units direct access to private open space. The intention was to foster a sense of place. The partial demolition opens apartments up to more natural light. more information: www.stefan-forster-architekten.de

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images after redevelopment showing new terraced housing and ground floor of housing blocks converted into dwellings

Bijlmermeer, Amsterdam, Netherlands constructed: from 1966 redevelopment: 1980s - present The suburban neighbourhood of Bijlmermeer was planned in the late 1960s. It is made up of modernist blocks laid out on a hexagonal grid. The 1970s saw a large influx of Surinamese immigrants when Suriname gained independence. The neighbourhoods long-term regeneration was initiated in the 1980s in response to severe social problems suffered there, such drawing showing demolished buildings in red

as poverty and high crime-rates. The interventions included the renovation as well as the demolition of a large portion of the blocks. New infill small-scale housing was constructed, the original segregation of residential and business functions was removed. Viaduct vehicular routes were flattened to join the pedestrian and bicycles traffic on the ground level. The renovation of the housing blocks included the transformation of ground level storage areas into housing units, studios and business premises. Residents have been consulted throughout the process. The demolition is based on resident surveys. The regeneration strategy was that current inhabitants should profit from the renovation. Diversification of housing and creating a feeling of security have been goals of the project.

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images after renovation work

Gårdsten, Göteborg, Sweden constructed: 1969-72 redevelopment: 1998-2004 The neighbourhood of Gårdsten was suffering from over 60 percent unemployment and a rising crime rate, and was losing money for the city. The area is predominately inhabited by non-native Swedes. As part of the area’s regeneration, a number of three and six-storey blocks were remodelled. The architectural office involved was Christer Nordström Arkitektkontor AB. A central goal was to empower residents through participation in the redevelopment process. Resident work-groups were formed to look at ways to improve the outdoor space and the usability of utility spaces. The ground level of the six-storey blocks has been transformed from an external windy unfriendly space into a communal laundry room which is attached to a communal greenhouse. In the lower three storey blocks, the ground level apartments have been provided with their own private garden space bordered by timber fences. Another goal of the project was to improve the energy performance of the buildings. Insulation was added to the facades as well as the roof. Preheated solution from solar panels installed on the roofs of the six-storey buildings is used to heat water in large tanks in the basement level, which is then distributed to the other buildings that form the same courtyard space. more information: http://cna.se; http://www.gardstensbostader.se

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images before and after renovation

“Bois-le-Prêtre”, Paris 17th Arrondissement, France constructed: 1959-1961 redevelopment: 2006-2011 The “Bois-le-Prêtre” housing tower was condemned to demolition. Architects Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal succeeded in convincing the city of Paris that renovating the tower instead of demolition and reconstruction would save money in the long run. The goal was to improve both the individual apartments and communal spaces while engaging in an intense consultation process with the residents and the client Paris Habitat. Residents now enjoy larger living rooms and new generous balconies through the addition of a self-supporting structure connected to the external wall of the building. Floor to ceiling windows replace the original small windows. The ground floor was remodelled. All unnecessary rooms and fittings were removed in order to create an unobstructed space from image during renovation

the entrance hall to the new garden at the back of the building. Two additional lifts were installed. As well as economical, the motivation for the project was ecological by emphasising reuse of an existing structure over demolition and reconstruction. more information: www.lacatonvassal.com

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Ballymun, Dublin, Ireland constructed: 1966 redevelopment: 1997 - present

The regeneration of Ballymun was due to the severe social problems suffered in the neighbourhood such as poverty, high crime levels and drug abuse. Four-, eight- and fifteen-storey housing blocks were demolished. In their place new small-scale low-rise streetscapes were built, along with a new Ballymun centre. Each new individual housing scheme was carried out by different architectural offices in order to nurture a variety of design responses instead of uniformity. The resident groups were involved in the design process, being consulted at every stage. It was important that each resident was offered a housing unit in the same neighbourhood. Along with diversifying the housing supply, the goal was to create a feeling of security. The new buildings are more energy efficient than those demolished. Centralised composting and recycling initiatives were set up.

images showing towers before demolition and smaller scale streetscapes after redevelopment

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more information: www.brl.ie


images during temporary transformation of housing block into hotel

Hotel Neustadt, Halle an der Saale, Germany constructed: 1960s/1970s redevelopment: 2002 - 2003 The city of Halle an der Saale has been suffering from dramatic population loss and high levels of unemployment since Germany’s reunification. A vacant high-rise housing block was remodelled into a temporary hotel alongside an international theatre festival. The idea for the project came out a collaboration between architects from the Raumlaborberlin collective and a local theatre. One of the goals was to activate local teenagers throughout the process. The remodelling of the interior was entirely designed and built by around 100 local youths. This consisted of 91 uniquely transformed hotel rooms and other spaces such as a tourist information space. The empty ground floor business premises was transformed into a temporary festival cafÊ, re-using materials such as doors found in similar nearby vacant towers. Around 120 local and international artists were also involved. The cultural intervention of Hotel Neustadt took place alongside other large scale renovation projects of modernist housing blocks in the city. more information: www.hotel-neustadt.de; www.raumlabor.net

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Analysis of precedent redevelopment projects The projects were originally architecturally similar, all having the same intent of meeting a serious housing shortage in a short space of time. All are towers or blocks of at least five stories in suburban locations constructed using prefabricated concrete systems and clad with exposed concrete panels. However, the redevelopment of these buildings differ. The architectural alterations are less standardised and more customised to the specific cultural, social and economic context. In those cities suffering population loss, such as Raahe and Leinefelde, buildings were partially demolished, therefore lowering the number of housing units, and significantly improving the units that remained. Where social problems, rather than a shrinking population, was the impetus for redevelopment, buildings were remodelled. The projects in GĂĽrdsten and Paris involve the addition of winter gardens and the spatial transformation of the shared ground floor. In the projects in Ireland and the Netherlands, both countries with strong culture for living in two storey houses, entire blocks were demolished and new small scale houses built in their place.

Both tangible and intangible All the redevelopment projects, apart from the temporary transformation of the housing block into a hotel in Halle, tangibly improve on the quality of the existing apartments, by increasing light and space within housing units, private outdoor space, amenities associated with the buildings and improving the interior thermal comfort of the buildings. However, all projects also address people’s intangible and diverse needs. The projects in Leinefelde and Raahe diversify the apartments on offer. The regeneration in Ballymun engaged numerous different architectural offices as a means of increasing diversity and enriching the architectural palette of the streetscape. The spatial expansion of the project in Paris introduced spatial adaptability by providing a gallery, the use of which residents could choose for themselves. The redevelopment projects aimed to strengthen a sense of identity and place. The buildings of Leinefelde, originally characterised by their architectural anonymity, transformed into distinctive unique residential places. Where the same residents were to live in the redeveloped or newly constructed buildings (not the case in Leinefelde and Raahe) participation was a means of meeting more diverse and individual needs and providing residents with choice and voice. The temporary hotel project in Halle had a strong social intent. The goal was to empower the local youths by giving them control over the creative process. During the Ballymun regeneration the residents where consulted throughout the rehousing process. The architects of the Paris project treated each resident in the same manner as they would a private client commissioning a villa. The Gürdsten project set up resident work-groups, which developed ideas such as the communal greenhouse space. The demolition of buildings in Bijlmermeer was determined by resident surveys. 41

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Environmental strategy Many of the projects share the ambition to reuse existing material resources, and strive for renovation and modification in favour of the entire demolition of buildings. Lacaton & Vassal architects succeeded in convincing the city of Paris to change its plans and not demolish the housing tower, renovating the structure instead. A social intent was embedded in this environmental strategy. The architects believe in the social value within existing housing. The social wellbeing of residents was built into the technical solutions - the additional spacegiving winter gardens function as a thermal buffer to the building. The projects in Raahe and GĂĽrdsten focus on the reduction of energy use and carbon emissions. Both projects involved the introduction of renewable energy sources and bring the buildings beyond current energy standards. The visual energy efficiency of these buildings with their solar panels and wind turbines creates a distinctive identity for the housing.

Renovation beyond technical necessity in Helsinki? The case studies demonstrate that the property market and the social backdrop are the most significant drivers behind substantial alterations. All of the projects are primarily either reacting to the repercussions of a dramatic shrinking in population or severe social problems such as poverty, alienation and drug abuse, which has led to unoccupied housing units. As cities were losing money on the neighbourhoods, there was a strong financial incentive to take action. In all the cases, the housing is rental, which eased decision-making processes due to there being only one client. This precedent study is valuable for generating ideas. It demonstrates the diverse possibilities of physical modifications, and shows the importance of architectural input in improving the social wellbeing of residents beyond technical necessity. However, what if all housing units are occupied? In the context of this thesis’s case study, Helsinki, social issues are not so severe. There is no danger of apartments lying empty, as Helsinki has a growing population and housing demand outstrips supply. There is a significant challenge in implementing renovation beyond necessary technical improvement in Helsinki. This points to the role of the architect. Is this the challenge of the role of architect in a context such as Helsinki - to emphasise and prove the value of interventions beyond technical repair which improve the everyday lives of residents? As described in chapter 2, this issue of influencing decision making was raised during discussions with architects working in housing renovation in Finland - that the challenge for architects lies with convincing the client that building alterations would be profitable. This study suggests that the architect has an important role to play in the decision making processes. How can an architect embed social considerations, regarding residents’ tangible and intangible needs, into all decision making regarding the technical refurbishment of apartment buildings? This will be investigated in the case study.

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Research projects Three recently completed research projects in Finland are examined. All include investigating the question of the renovation of Finnish suburbs from an architectural point of view. This section gives a short overview of each project separately, followed by an analysis section. These projects are as follows: 1. EcoDrive - Eco-efficient renewal of a neighbourhood (Ekotehokkaasti uudistuva yhdyskunta) 2. Entelkor - Energy efficient rehabilitation of suburbs of concrete element apartment buildings (Energiatehokas lähiökorjaaminen) 3. Potential of Using Wood in Suburban Renovation (Puun mahdolliset lähiöiden korjauksissa)

Eco-efficient renewal of a neighbourhood (Ekotehokkaasti uudistuva yhdyskunta) 2009 - 2011 Participants The project was coordinated by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), and funded by Tekes. It consisted of three central research partners - Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and University of Helsinki (UH).

Description Research was carried out into the eco-efficient regeneration of the building stock of the city area of Riihimäki in Peltosaari which was the project’s case study area. VTT collaborated

Proposed addition of balconies at Jupiterinkatu 5, Peltosaari Design and visualisation by TKK Architecture Department, Wood Construction, 2009.

with the architectural departments of Helsinki Technical University and Oulu University to make densification and renewal proposals for the regeneration of Peltosaari.

Publication Pekka Lahti, Jyri Nieminen, et al. 2010. Riihimäen Peltosaari. Lähiön ekotehokas uudistaminen. VTT.

Proposed additional storey at Jupiterinkatu 5, Peltosaari Design and visualisation by TKK Architecture Department, Wood Construction, 2009.

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Potential of Using Wood in Suburban Renovation (Puun Mahdollisuudet Lähiöiden Korjauksissa) 2009 - 2011

Participants This Ara-funded project was coordinated by the Wood Studio of the University of Oulu’s Department of Architecture in partnership with Aalto University and Tampere University of Technology.

Description This project researched the possibilities of using wood in the renovation of suburbs, in particular using wood-framed prefabricated facade and room elements. This is a way of reducing cost and disruption to the resident. Six architectural Master’s theses offer concrete reno-

Proposal for apartment buildings including new small scale houses at Ansatie, Oulu Design and visualisation by Tuuli Jäntti. (Master’s thesis)

vation proposals for six different case studies. Each of the proposals aims to create a more human scale by for example forming courtyards with a more enclosed feeling. Each deals with a collection of neighbouring buildings rather than a singular building and each seeks to strengthen the unique identity of each case.

Publication Anu Soikkeli (ed.) 2011. Puun mahdollisuudet lähiöiden korjauksissa. Oulu.

Master’s theses Author: Tomi Tulamo | Case study: Riihimäen Peltosaari Author: Tiina Hotakainen | Case study: Porvoon Länsiranta Author: Niina Murtonen | Case study: Tampereen Annala Author: Reeta Sakki | Case study: Hämeenlinnan Katuma Author: Tuuli Jäntti | Case study: Oulun Ansatie Author: Marja Vampoulas | Case study: Lahden Milkin talot

Proposal for apartment buildings in Katuma, Hämeenlinna Design and visualisation by Reeta Sakki. (Master’s thesis)

Proposal for apartment buildings in Länsiranta, Porvoo Design and visualisation by Tiina Hotakainen. (Master’s thesis) Precedent Study

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Energy Efficient Renewal of Mass-produced Concrete Element Suburbs (Energiatehokas lähiökorjaaminen) 2009 - 2012 Participants The Ministry of the Environment funded project was coordinated by the EDGE Laboratory for Architectural and Urban Research at Tampere University of Technology, including researchers from the University’s Department of Civil Engineering.

Description This project set out to research previously uncovered or forgotten themes in the context of the development of 1960s and 1970s suburbs, with the aim of producing positive optimistic

Controlled method of demolition employed on this Berlin building site allows for the re-use of building materials. (Master’s thesis of Satu Huuhka )

visions of the future. Masters theses delved into a wide spectrum of subjects, such as the possibilities of partial demolition and re-use of materials, how forest suburbs could be turned more into garden cities by developing the outdoor space associated with apartment buildings and the flexibility of existing apartments.

Publications: Elina Alatalo (ed.) 2012. Hurmaava lähiö - Energiatehokas lähiökorjaaminen -hankkeen loppujulkaisu. Ympäristöministeriö.

Master’s theses: Päivi Veijola. Kierrätysmateriaalien käyttö rakentamisessa. Timo Siilomaa. Aurinkolämpö ja korjausrakentaminen. Satu Huuhka. Kierrätys arkkitehtuurissa. Kimmo Hilliaho. Parvekelasituksen energiataloudelliset vaikutukset. Noona Lappalainen. Kerrospihatalo. Katriina Kakko. Muunneltava lähiöasunto. Tuomo Joensuu. Tulevaisuuden kaupungin ekosysteemi. Pekka Tynkkynen. Lähiön emergenssi. Arto Köliö. Betonilähiöiden julkisivujen tekninen korjaustarve. Ulrika Uotila. Korjaustoimien vaikutukset lähiökerrostalon todelliseen energiankulutukseen.

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below left: Proposal for densification model ‘Para’ Design and visualisation by Pekka Tynkkynen (Master’s thesis) below right: Proposal for a private roof terraces Design and visualisation by Noona Lappalainen (Master’s thesis)


Analysis of precedent research projects Two decades of the same research? Between 1992-1996 Finland’s Ministry of the Environment’s Renovation Programme (REMONTTI-ohjelma) consisted of over eighty project publications which dealt with building renovation. Ekologinen lähiöuudistus (in English: Ecological suburban renewal; Rönkä, 1994), Asukkaat ja lähiöarkkitehti (in English: Residents and neighbourhood architect; Staffans, 1994), and Lähiökorjaamisen arkkitehtoniset vaikutukset (in English: Architectural consequences in the refurbishment of suburbs; Hagan, 1996) were among those publications. It was already recognised almost twenty years ago that suburbs should be renovated ecologically, with high architectural quality and with the residents as participants in the process. What in this case do these recent research projects have to offer that was not known already? This section explores what is new in these projects.

Importance of close collaboration from day one The EcoDrive research project highlighted the importance of each area of expertise working together from the very beginning and developing proposals together. The project’s publication noted that the project’s architectural proposals were not in tune with the project’s findings regarding the socioeconomic context. The project focused on the area of Peltosaari in the city of Riihimäki. The contribution from VTT and TKK demonstrated how the addition of a storey on top of existing buildings could pay for the cost of renovation. However, the resident surveys conducted by UH showed that current residents do not support an increase in the size of existing buildings, and believe ugly buildings in bad condition should be demolished. On top of that, 10% of the area’s apartments are currently empty, something not conducive to increasing the number of units.

Wood-framed prefabricated facade and room elements Wood-framed prefabricated facade and room elements are presented as a means of reducing the costs and carbon emissions of renovation, and also improving the comfort of residents during renovation. The background to both the Potential of Using Wood in Suburban Renovation (PUWSR) research project and the architectural contribution to EcoDrive is the international TES Energy Facade research project, which aims to develop wood-framed prefabricated facade elements to improve energy efficiency when renovating buildings built between the 1950s and 1980s in Europe. Prefabricated elements offer the possibility of rationalising the renovation process and reducing the costs of renovation. Wood is deemed a superior material to concrete as it has only a third of the carbon of emissions of concrete. The comfort of the resident is better accommodated, as residents can continue living in their homes during the construction work. The aim of the PUWSR project was to offer technically and financially viable architectural proposals using wood-framed construction elements. The project’s six architectural theses visualise renewal proposals for six different suburbs. All had an aim to nurture human Precedent Study

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scale through creating more enclosed protected courtyards and activating the ground floor.

Upgrading can lead to lower energy efficiency As is often reiterated, the building stock from the 1970s represents Finland’s least energy efficient buildings, which emphasises the importance of upgrading this era of housing. However, these research projects demonstrate that energy reduction and renovation do not necessary go hand in hand. Upgrading measures may increase the energy consumption of these buildings. The reason for buildings in Peltosaari having a lower than expected energy consumption was attributed to a poor air exchange rate. While improving ventilation is necessary for improving air quality, it would increase the energy consumption of the buildings. 1970s era buildings without mechanical ventilation or elevators have a surprisingly low electricity usage in comparison to comparable contemporary buildings. The greatest energy savings could be made in reducing the need for heating, though it is specific to each building. As demonstrated by Entelkor’s research it may be more cost effective not to focus on insulation, but rather on heat recovery, reduction in heated water usage and the replacement or repair of external doors and windows. There could be other solutions, such as only insulating the northern facades and gable ends of apartment buildings and glazing the south side balconies. More research is needed.

Optimism and delving into new uncovered themes Entelkor started to map the possibilities of suburb renewal by asking what had not been explored so far? The project offers positive and interesting architectural visions of the future of suburbs, taking advantage of tools used in the field of future studies. The thesis projects demonstrate a distancing from a problem-based method of examining suburb development. The research projects emphasise the importance of the cost-effectiveness of alteration proposals. Wood-framed prefabricated facade and room elements is proposed as a solution. The projects also show concretely the importance of social considerations being integrated into decisions made regarding alterations to the buildings. Increasing the height of buildings is not a viable solution in an area with 10% empty apartments and from which residents are hoping to leave. Energy and residents’ health do not necessarily go hand in hand. Lower energy efficiency may be attributed to factors which are detriment to the wellbeing of residents, such as poor air quality.

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Conclusion to Part I

From standardisation to customisation In post-war Finland housing design was about standardisation, mass-production as a means of responding to the housing shortage, and designing for the model, average citizen. Architects could concretely improve the living conditions of people. Today, the shift is towards customisation and designing for plurality. Housing architects are seeking ways to address both residents’ tangible and intangible needs. Architects in Finland emphasise the importance of providing more choice to residents through flexible housing and being in closer contact with the resident as a means towards improving new housing and meeting more individual, less concrete needs. The case study of this thesis investigates how these improvement strategies could be incorporated in the development of the shared spaces of an existing apartment buildings.

Role of architect in renovation The role of the architect in renovation in Finland is understood as being important for knowledge of old building techniques and the cultural heritage of buildings, and ensuring spatial usability and aesthetic quality, but also for being in the position of grasping the whole picture and promoting longterm thinking. The literature emphasises the different skills needed in renovation as opposed to new-build due to there being more direct and intimate contact with residents. Discussions with architects and the precedent study show that the architect is important for being visionary, innovative and convincing the client of the value of interventions beyond technical necessity. Implementation of improvements is a challenge for architects in Helsinki, where housing demand outstrips supply. The case study explores how the role of architect in renovation might include ensuring the implementation of alterations to buildings beyond what is technically necessary.

Conclusion to Part 1: Background

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Part II

Case study

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Part II: Case study


My intention with the case study is to investigate the role of the architect in renovation in improving housing for dwellers. I study the interaction between the social and the physical development of the shared spaces of a rental housing complex built in the 1960s in an eastern Helsinki suburb. My aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the context by engaging with residents and the property manager throughout the process, in order to make proposals for the future development of the shared spaces. The desired outcome of the case study is primarily to gain insights into the research question, but also to make sketch design proposals for the shared spaces of the case study buildings.

Reiteration of research question How can an architect facilitate a kind of resident participation, that uncovers valuable knowledge existing in a context, that would otherwise lie undiscovered and draws out dwellers’ knowledge and experience of what spaces have proven to be conducive to many uses, in order to improve the living environment for residents in the context of necessary technical renovation of apartment buildings in Finland? More concisely - what methods work well in drawing out useful information or generating a meaningful conversation, and how does this additional knowledge and input go towards making better proposals?

Issues raised by literature to be addressed The case study investigates some issues raised by the literature. In the context of collaborative design processes the literature emphasised the importance of creating meaningful communication between architect and user, for example by providing proposals as a reference for users, also the challenge of people finding it difficult to think in the longterm, and the reality of power structures. Another challenge raised by the literature, that the case study reflects on, is how an architect can ensure the improvement proposals are implemented.

Overview of contents of part II Part II opens with the background to the case study, which includes a description of its location, Kontula. This is followed by the description of the process, which incorporates an account of my encounters with residents and the property manager, as well as the development of architectural proposals for alterations to the shared spaces of the case study. This description concludes with the final sketch design proposals and the findings in terms of the research question.

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Background to case study

The case study involves a study into the shared spaces of a rental housing complex. The complex consists of three 9-storey apartment buildings, which were designed by architects Aili and Niilo Pulkka. Their construction was completed in 1965. The housing complex is owned Kontula

by Heka Oy, which is in turn owned by the city of Helsinki. Heka Oy is a non-profit organisation with the purpose of providing and managing state-subsidised housing. Heka-Vesala Oy is the management company within Heka-Oy which manages the case study housing

Helsinki centre

complex. The housing complex is located in Kontula, which is part of Mellunkylä, an eastern Helsinki suburban area. Mellunkylä is the pilot area for the ‘Lähiö 2072’ multi-stakeholder project (in English: Suburb 2072, see paper: Heikkinen, Soini, & Dhima, 2012) of which this

The case study is located in Kontula, an eastern Helsinki suburb.

thesis is a part. Lähiö 2072 is funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and is coordinated by the Living Places research group at Aalto University. The Lähiö 2072 project aims to envision how to take advantage of the momentum of the upcoming building renovations in Finnish suburbs built in the 1960s and 1970s in order to collaboratively develop these suburbs into places that meet residents’ diversifying needs and values, as well as tightening energy requirements. Suburb 2072 was a separate student kick-starter project to the Lähiö 2072 project, which involved students creating visions of Mellunkylä’s journey to 2072 (see forthcoming paper: Soini, Paavilainen) as part of a university study module. This module took place in the business premises of the case study rental apartment building complex over a period of eight weeks. As an assistant to this project, I spent a lot of time in the building. I was consequently motivated to choose the same apartment building complex as the case study for this thesis.

Background to Kontula The planning of Kontula’s masterplan, led by architect Pentti Ahola, began in 1961 and construction of the first building began in 1963 (Kokkonen, kontula.com). In keeping with the planning principles of the time, Kontula was planned as a residential area and had its roots in functionalist ideas. Buildings have large open spaces between them, and are placed in the landscape rationally - the shopping centre is locating at the precise geographical centrepoint of Kontula. Kuokkanen-Suomi and Salastie (1995) emphasise in their architectural survey of Kontula that the area’s value lies in the spacious and well-working floor plans of its apartments and aesthetically in the minimalist concrete panel asceticism of its facades. Architectural features include white-coloured apartment buildings"floating" as white masses above their darker coloured ground floor levels, and ribbon windows, which set the buildings apart from both the most reduced concrete mass-produced facades and also the overly articulated facades of new buildings. Upgrading projects are criticised by Kuokkanen-Suomi and Salastie, as new buildings and renovated buildings no longer differ from one another. (Kuokkanen-Suomi, Salastie, 1995, pp2-4) Kontula was one of the first residential areas to be built using pre-fabrication on a large scale. Along with the rationalisation of construction procedures, Kontula was designed in a way so as to rationalise maintenance procedures. There would no longer be the traditional 51

Background to case study


“talonmies” concierge-type person, but rather centralised maintenance services instead. In the early years, those who moved to Kontula were of a similar age and families with children got to know one another through their children. The shared experience of the huge change brought people together. Services were not available at first. In terms of shared spaces and the social life of Kontula, one resident remembers warmly how they used to play badminton in the 1960s in the courtyard space. As the number of cars increased however, the court disappeared beneath parked cars. There was various activities in the basement levels of apartment buildings. (Kokkonen, kontula.com) The life of the suburbs was effected by both an urban way of living and the countryside lifestyle. For some, the suburb was like a big village, for others a small city. By the late 1960s, there was already unrest amongst young people who had nowhere to go and ended up causing havoc and vandalism. The press began portraying a negative image of Kontula. (Kokkonen, kontula.com) In contrast to the early years, when families with children dominated, today 45% of households in Mellunkylä, where Kontula is situated, are single-person households (Statistics Finland and City of Helsinki Urban Facts, 2012 ). The share of the population who speak a foreign-language as their mother tongue in Helsinki is over 11% and in Mellunkylä is over 21% (ibid.). Today Kontula and the Mellunkylä area is unique in Helsinki for its concentration of sports facilities and its yearly music festival “KontuFestari” organised by local activists.

case study buildings Kontula’s central shopping area + metro station

Aerial view of Kontula Case study buildings are located to the east of Kontula’s central shopping area and metro station. Background to case study

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Description of process

I describe the process from the point of view of my encounters with the context of the case study (shown in grey font), and from the point of view of the development of design proposals for alterations to the shared spaces of the case study buildings (shown in black font). The process is broken down into three phases - ‘initial impressions’, ‘understanding the context’, and ‘collaborative envisioning’.

1: Initial impressions Initial encounters with building

Initial impression Visual survey Inspiration Initial ideas Initial analysis

2: Understanding context

Re-evaluation of initial ideas Practitioner discussions Response to diversity and changing needs

Timeline idea development Timeline put into practice Interview with property manager Interviews with residents Conversations Observations Diverse interpretations of shared space Personas inspired by encounters

3: Collaborative envisioning Preparation for open doors event with residents Open doors event Second meeting with property manager Proposals for longterm plan of building

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Description of process


1: Initial impressions

1.1: Encounters with context My first encounter with the building complex comes about due to my involvement in the Suburb 2072 project (see forthcoming: Soini, Paavilainen). During this project, we organise an open doors event. Locals are invited to the business premises of the apartment building, where we are based, to share their thoughts and ideas about the future of their locality. Active and rooted in neighbourhood During this open doors event, I discover that there are active residents deeply rooted in the area and the apartment building complex itself. Spaciousness and closeness to nature are important to people. Diversity I sense there are sensitive issues stemming from cultural differences, brought on by an increase in the diversity of cultural backgrounds in the area. However, I learn that the area has never been homogeneous. A woman who grew up in Helsinki’s city centre and moved to Kontula as a young adult, tells me how in the early days there was two distinct groups - those who came from the city and those who came from the countryside. Continuous change I realise that these buildings have been continuously undergoing physical change. There have been numerous renovations, including the addition and extension of balconies to apartments in conjunction with a substantial plumbing refurbishment. Not only are there active residents, but the building itself is actively renovated.

View of one of the case study complex’s three housing blocks. Description of process

54


South gable of C-house.

B-house

C-house

A-house

Site plan

1.2: Development of proposals Influence of encounters with context I am interested in the building complex’s active residents and history of renovation, and therefore choose it as the case study for this thesis.

Initial impressions View from north-east of entrance to A-house.

The courtyard spaces in front of the buildings feel open and unprotected, lacking a sense of enclosure. The large expanse of tarmac has a strong impact. The ground floor of the buildings are closed and unfriendly. Entrances to the buildings are not articulated. There is an intermediary scale missing. There is, however, a more comfortable, protected feeling on the eastern side of the buildings. There is a sense of the modernist architectural heritage of the buildings - upper floors floating above the ground plane, the ribbon windows and the vertically ribbed concrete ground floor gable walls. The landscape on the southern side of the site is rugged and beautiful.

55

Description of process


above: Sketch of initial idea of opening up plinth. right: View from shared airing balcony.

Visual survey The upper floors and attic space offer expansive views. This is unique and has potential. There are underused storage spaces in the darker and least accessible corners of the buildings. The club room is hidden from sight. The ground floor has dark winding corridors. The exterior material palette consists of concrete panels painted white and grey, vertically ribbed concrete ground floor gable walls painted grey, white corrugated iron cladding to upper floor gable walls, metal entrance doors painted grey, metal railings to balconies painted dark green, timber windows painted grey, metal roofing, and asphalt. The interior material palette of shared spaces consists of plastered walls painted in shades of blue, terrazzo flooring, suspended ceilings, non-structural brick walls painted white, metal fire-doors to stairwells painted grey, and original solid wood doors to ancillary spaces painted grey.

below left: Ground floor level of stairwell. below centre: Shared storage space. below right: Ground floor circulation corridor.

Description of process

56


left: Brickwork, ground level planting and bench beneath fiirst level balcony. Arabianranta, Helsinki. below: Private realm spilling out into shared open space. Barbican, London. right: Shared stairwell in London used for planting and bicycle storage.

Inspiration The precedent studies, design proposals of masters theses of precedent research projects, entrance spaces of modernist apartment buildings, and my own observations of existing shared spaces provide inspiration (see images). left, below and above: Pihl채j채m채ki, Helsinki.

57

Description of process


below, above, and right: Sketch and visualisations of initial ideas.

Initial ideas My initial idea is to articulate the entrance spaces by making a generous extended entrance hall as a space to sit and take a moment. This space is accented with warmer materials, such as timber, and human scale detailing. The ground floor opens up to be more inviting and activated. Garages become dwellings, providing additional income and accessible units. Rooftop spaces become luxurious saunas.

Initial analysis I source drawings and calculate floor areas. Shared spaces and technical spaces make up a third of the entire floor area of the building. I make a rough estimate that 20% of these spaces are underused, mainly due to their darker less accessible location in the building. No. of residents: 335 Density: 28,97m2/resident Apartments: 160 16no. 1 room + kitchenette (21,5m2) 16no. 2 rooms + kitchenette (40,5m2) 48no. 2 rooms + kitchen (54,5m2) 56no. 3 rooms + kitchen (71,5m2) 16no. 4 rooms + kitchen (81,0m2) 8no. 5 rooms + kitchen (99,5m2) Shared spaces: Stairwells and lifts: 9; Saunas: 5; Laundry: 1; Drying rooms: 7; Car-parking spaces: 109; Garages: 12; Business premises: 1; Club room: 1, Personal stores, Outdoor-equipment stores, Mechanically cooled food stores.

Description of process

58


2: Understanding context 2.1: Encounters with context I develop a time-line tool in order to better understand the context of the case-study. I intend to explore this as a tool an architect could employ in investigating what alterations to shared space would be of benefit to residents’ lives, and as a platform for collaboratively envisioning these spaces’ future development. I use this tool during conversations and interviews with the building complex’s seniors’ group, the residents’ committee chairperson, and the property manager. I have informal conversations in the open green space with residents during this phase. Time-line tool The time-line tool is inspired by the literary review. The people who inhabit suburbs, rather than being passive victims of space or planners’ decisions, play a crucial part in the formation of suburban meanings (Saarikangas, 2002, p566). The modern living environment is not constructed exclusively on the drawing boards of planners or through inhabitants activities alone, but rather through a meeting of both the environment and residents (Saarikangas, 2002, p504). My intention with the time-line is to investigate the interface between the two - physical alterations and the activities of residents. Where does the social life of the shared spaces of the building meet the physical life? I construct the time-line with the help of old drawings and the stories of residents and property manager. I use the time-line as a way of probing the social context and in order to “work out from the given context” (Till, 2009, p193). The tool is a way of encouraging storytelling, which is a method used in participatory design processes and ‘empathic design’ (see description in box). I develop the time-line in response to the challenges discussed in part I in terms of the importance of the architect ensuring longer term considerations are taken into account, and the difficulty people have in thinking about their needs beyond the most immediate (for example Hasu, 2010). I adopt the time-line as way of encouraging longer term thinking. The idea of being aware of the longterm consequences of decisions is an important aspect of the Lähiö 2072 project (see Heikkinen et al, 2012). During the interviews and conversations I ask questions in terms of the past, present and future of the shared spaces. With the aid of the time-line, which visualises the various alterations made to the shared spaces, I ask residents what effects these alterations had on their everyday lives and use of the spaces; which shared spaces are important to them now, and what desires they would have for the future development of these spaces. In the same vein I ask the property manager what where the reasons for the alterations that were carried

Concept sketch for the time-line tool. 59

Description of process


Storytelling Storytelling is a method, which can be used in participatory processes. Storytelling about activities, houses and neighbourhoods is a way of bringing the subconscious to the conscious, which is important as our activities related to our homes are repetitive and therefore relegated to the subconscious (Qu, Hasselaar, 2011). “We can reveal patterns and habits of the subconscious related to housing by storytelling. This means that designers need to cooperate with users to understand their preferences. Just asking is not enough” (ibid., p185). The empathic design approach is based on the premise that by understanding how an environment is experienced by the user from within the context, a designer can use this understanding to design better. “Empathic design is about using our understanding to inform and inspire the creation of more useful and enjoyable things for people we may never meet” (Mattelmäki & Battarbee, 2005, p52). Storytelling is a method that can be used in empathic user studies. It is a way of probing people’s experience. “(S)tories can have an important role in supporting early user studies in becoming more holistic and empathic”(ibid., p118).

out, and what was the effect of the alterations on their usage. I enquire about the current use of the shared spaces and about plans for the future development of these spaces. I write short descriptions of personas inspired by the encounters. These persona descriptions are found at the end of this section. The axonometric drawings used in the timeline, along with the timeline of renovation works to the building, are also found at the end of this section. Changing social structure I discover from these encounters that the social structure is constantly changing, and that a large number of elderly people are deeply rooted in the apartment buildings, without any intention of moving elsewhere. This housing complex’s changing social structure echoes the change of the whole of Kontula. In the early years the place was full of children. Adults got to know each other quickly at the sandboxes. Whereas in 1966 there were 707 residents, 312 of which were children under the age of 15, in 2005 there were 349 residents, of which only 88 were children under the age of 15. Of those 349 residents, 84 were people of non-Finnish background. That trend is continuing. In 2011 there were 335 residents. Due to its wide range of apartment sizes, these buildings have been able to accommodate people at different stages of their lives. An advantage of Helsinki rental housing, is that people can easily swap apartments once within the system. This has nourished a diversity of residents and therefore a diversity regarding the use and importance of the shared spaces, which is evident in the persona tales. Improvements Along with an ever-increasing amount of space, other living comforts have increased over the years. Originally there was two saunas to share between the entire 160 apartments. There are now five saunas. Since 1999, the residents have had their own club room, which has been used for many a resident get-together or family occasion. Social life The social life of these buildings has always been active. Even without an official club room, Description of process

60


residents found a way by appropriating one the bicycle stores. There was also the possibility of renting the club room of the neighbouring building. Since the 1970s there has been an

Group interview in the club room of the apartment complex.

active residents’ club organising activities. To this day there is a yearly flea market. Changing habits, changing technology With the development of household appliances and other improvements some shared spaces are no longer important. Now that every apartment has their own balcony, the airing balconies accessed off stairwells are no longer used. Though still an essential space for some, the mechanical cold stores in the basements lie for the most part empty. With the decline in a culture of foraging and the convenience of modern food shopping, for many the fridge space is sufficient. Reality of everyday activities I learn of individual concerns in relation to movement around the building complex. With only one laundry for the three buildings, there is a long walk along a slippery surface in winter with a heavy bag of laundry. There is also frustration stemming from some residents not working within their allocated laundry time-slot.

Section of the time-line tool used during interviews. 61

Description of process


Rich green space culture I discover the open green space is not the no-man’s land that had come to my mind initially. I see the surroundings in a new light. From informal encounters with residents I learn about their gardening activities. I sense a pride in people’s home. Resident’s have their own individual territory in the buildings’ shared open green space, be it a flower pot or a patch to grow vegetables. Individual residents’ planting boxes in the open green space.

Vegetable planting in the open green space, layed out in the shape of a heart. Description of process

62


Personas I write a collection of short texts from the voices of different personas inspired by conversations and interviews with the residents and the property manager. This illustrates the diversity of people living in these apartment buildings in relation to the shared spaces.

“Next stop Malmi graveyard!” Woman, pensioner I’ve lived here since the 60s. I used to live in one of the larger apartments, but when the children left, we moved into a smaller one. Then my husband died and I moved again. In the early days, there were no services, but we got by. We had an active residents’ club. We’d show films to the children in the bicycle store room. There were so many children back then! Now we have a nice club room that they built during the last big renovation. We get together there every week. We also have a gardening group. Every year we plant flowers together. We each have our own plot though, as it works better that way. The shared spaces are really important. I use the laundry, though it’s difficult to get to in Winter when the ground is icy. The cold storage for food is great. Where else would I store all those mushrooms and berries? No-one could get me to move from here. Next stop Malmi graveyard!

“I like the space” Boy I was born here. This is a nice place to live. There’s climbing frames nearby. I like the space. I keep my bicycle in my grandfather’s garage.

“I have fond memories of my childhood here” Man, middle-aged I grew up here, moved in right at the beginning. I have fond memories of my childhood. Those basement level stores were our playground. I’ve just moved back again after years. Shared spaces are not so important for us. I like the area. Everything we need is nearby. A garage space would be great but they’re in high demand.

“Garden people” Property manager These are our oldest buildings. There has been extensive work done. There was no club room back then, though the club in the neighbouring building was planned to serve all surrounding buildings. In comparison to other complexes the residents are very active. They are garden people, very active in the green space. In the 1970s it was quite rough. They’d be police patrolling the area at weekends. Nowadays it’s very peaceful.

63

Description of process


“I enjoy the nature” Man, pensioner I moved in in the 60’s. I remember we used to play cards in the clubroom in the neighbouring housing building. Everything would get stolen back then. I’d store my bicycle on the balcony. I enjoy the nature around here, sitting in the yard in the summer.

“Even if I won the lotto I wouldn’t move” Woman, pensioner I moved in about 15 years ago. I’m very happy here. If I won the lotto I wouldn’t move. I have a strong social network here, everything I need. There’s the guy who fixes my car and the woman who does my hair. I help them out too in other ways. I don’t use the shared spaces. I’m not a sauna person, or at least not an apartment building sauna person. I don’t use the laundry room, apart from for sheets. There used to be a lot of trouble around here - police cars and what not. Nowadays it’s very quiet. One of the stairwells is always a mess. It’s a bit of a nuisance as it’s us, the residents, who end up paying for that vandalism to be cleaned up.

“The club room is not a space for everyone” Woman, working age I’ve only lived here for 4 or 5 years. I’m very busy, so unfortunately I never get round to attending resident meetings. The club room is not a space for everyone. It’s the territory of certain active residents. The sauna is important for us and the apartments are very nice open and spacious. I find the facades quite ugly though.

“People that caused trouble have moved out” Woman, young adult I’ve enjoyed all sorts of parties and occasions in that club room. Times have changed. People that caused trouble have moved out. Door codes solved a lot of problems. I’m proud of my childhood here, all those adventures in the nearby forest. It’s got a bad image, but it’s not justified.

“People around here are decent” Mother of small children I’m busy with the kids. I didn’t know there was a club room. I grow vegetables in the open green space. It’s a way of saving a bit of money, and it’s also enjoyable. The property manager brings us a big pile of soil every year. People around here are decent, no-one would interfere with my planting.

Description of process

64


Different interpretations of shared spaces During conversations with different stakeholders, I find I am talking about different things with different people. To some, shared spaces are a source of pride in the home, to others they are a source of problems with other residents, to others they are a waste of money, and to others a potential outlet of creativity. Different spaces are important to different people. The cosy club room is an important social outlet for some; others don’t know of its existence. For others, the garage space is an important addition to the home. Some see no need for shared spaces, or associate them with the extra cost of others’ vandalism, referring in this case to a particular stairwell, which is regularly vandalised. In reaction to this diversity of points of view, I categorise people’s interpretation of shared space rather than breaking users down into different groups. I define four different ways shared spaces can be of value to residents. Shared spaces can promote positive encounters; ease everyday tasks; be a monetary resource; and offer luxury and be a source of pride in the home. Other issues related to shared spaces also have different interpretations. Though brought up in a negative light by some, others see increasing cultural diversity as a positive thing as the area is more peaceful than before due to there not being one dominant group and less of an emphasis on alcohol. Resident democracy, the system which promotes rental tenants being involved in the development of their living environments, is also a source of difference of opinion. Some feel that it only pays lip service to actual right of say of residents. Others feel it works well. Satisfactory as is? I question the assumption of this thesis, that the current situation can be improved on. Apart from a few concerns and desires, residents I meet are satisfied with their home environment. Resident democracy works well in enabling residents to influence small changes, such as the installation of benches or planting in the open green space. There is a small yearly budget, which this year will go towards a new bench and railings as an aid to walking along a particularly steep section of pathway. However, the question is still open as to how residents can be involved and influence bigger, more longterm changes to the buildings. I found the time-line was somewhat successful in encouraging people to think of their own situation in terms of five, ten or fifteen years down the line, for example thinking of a decrease in mobility. However, this did not bring out many ideas as to how that would be reflected in changes to the physical environment. The property manager expressed no longterm vision for the future development of the apartment complex. Even though residents surveys would be conducted as part of building surveys (described in part I in the section on renovation procedures in Finland), I question whether this survey might garner similar results to my experience. I realise there is a mechanism missing, which would enable and stimulate discussion and ideation about the longer term development of shared spaces. I conclude that this is where an opportunity for architectural practice may lie.

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Description of process

Four meanings of shared spaces •

promoting positive encounters

easing everyday tasks

monetary resource

luxury and source of pride


section of time-line used during interviews and open doors event

1965 1964 Planning drawings completed by Architects Aili and Niilo Pulkka.

1965 Buildings are completed.

1965 Rental contracts signed in a temporary property manager office in a garage in A-house.

1966 707 residents, including 312 children under the age of 15

piha 1965

A-talo

B-talo

storage sauna, laundry, drying room rentable space clubroom

technical space, property management space stairwells, corridors

C-talo

open green space

Description of process

66


section of time-line used during interviews and open doors event

1980 1983 Insulation is added to the gable ends of the buildings.

1983 Property manager moves out of business premises in the upper ground floor level of C-house leaving the space to be rented out for other use.

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Description of process

1985-1986 Kitchens and bathrooms in apartments are renovated.

1983Various organisations rent out the business premises over the years, including offices of the local football association, the offices of Helmi - a mental health organisation, as a space for teaching children in their first year of school, the Finnish refugee council, as a space for teaching muslim children after-school, Aalto University’s Suburb 2072 module, and finally the offices of a cleaning service.


section of time-line used during interviews and open doors event

1995 1995 Rubbish bin shelters are built.

1998-1999 Plumbing and facade renovation is carried out. A club room is built in the place of basement storage spaces. Two new saunas are built in B-house in place of storage space. New mechanically cooled food storage space is installed in all three buildings. Bathrooms in the apartments are renovated. Larger glazed balconies external to the structure of the building are installed into every apartment. Interior space is extended in place of original recessed balcony. Larger windows are reinstated to the apartments.

1998 Containers with toilets and showers are set up in the open green space during the plumbing renovation.

Description of process

68


section of time-line used during interviews and open doors event

2010 2000 Sauna in C-house is replaced with two saunas.

2003 Kitchens in apartments are renovated for the second time.

2005 40th anniversary celebration in the open green space

2004 Roofs and ventilation system are renovated.

2005 349 residents, including 88 children under the age of 15, and 84 residents of foreign background

piha 2012

A-talo

B-talo

storage sauna, laundry, drying room rentable space clubroom

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Description of process

technical space, property management space stairwells, corridors open green space

C-talo


A-house and B-house drawings used in time-line

1965 storage

technical space, property management space

sauna, laundry, drying room

stairwells, corridors

rentable space

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

lämmönjakohuone

talouskellarit autotalli

open green space

A

autotalli

talouskellarit

clubroom autotalli

B talouskellarit

mopedi -talli

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

C

sauna

sähkö

A-talo kellari 1965

muuntamo

sähkö

rikkahuone

autotalli

autotalli

F

mopedi -talli

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

lämmönjakohuone

D talouskellarit

autotalli

autotalli

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

talouskellarit

E talouskellarit

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

B-talo kellari 1965 Description of process

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A-house and B-house drawings used in time-line

1995 lämmönjakohuone

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

A

autotalli autotalli

autotalli

kerhotila

varastot

B

kylmiö kylmiö

autotalli

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

C

kuivaushuone

sauna

sähkö

A-talo kellari 1998

muuntamo

sähkö

entinen rikkahuone

autotalli

lämmönjakohuone

D

kylmiö

autotalli varastot

autotalli

E

autotalli sauna kuivaus huone

F

mopedi -talli

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Description of process

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

B-talo kellari 1998

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

kylmiö sauna


C-house drawings used in time-line

1965 storage

technical space, property management space

sauna, laundry, drying room

stairwells, corridors

rentable space

open green space

kuivaushuoneet

I

pesutupa kuivaushuone

talouskellarit

clubroom

mankeli -huone

H talouskellarit sauna

G toimisto toimisto toimisto

kerhohuone

C-talo yläkellari 1965 talousvarasto talousvarasto

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

I

autotalli talousvarasto talousvarasto

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

autotalli

H

autotalli

lämmönjakohuone

autotalli ulkoiluvälinevarasto traktoritalli

G

C-talo alakellari 1965 Description of process

72


C-house drawings used in time-line

1980 kuivaushuoneet

I

pesutupa kuivaushuone

talouskellarit

mankeli -huone

H talouskellarit sauna

G toimisto toimisto toimisto toimisto

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Description of process

C-talo yl채kellari 1969


C-house drawings used in time-line

1995 kuivaushuoneet

I pesutupa

varasto

kuivaushuone

varasto varasto

mankeli -huone

H varasto varasto sauna

kuivaushuone

G

liikehuoneisto

C-talo yläkellari 1998

talon varasto

varasto

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

varasto

I

autotalli varasto varasto

ulkoiluvälinevarasto

autotalli

H

autotalli

lämmönjakohuone

autotalli ulkoiluvälinevarasto traktoritalli

G

C-talo alakellari 1998 Description of process

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C-house drawings used in time-line

2010 kuivaushuoneet

I pesutupa

varasto

kuivaushuone

varasto varasto

mankeli -huone

H varasto

sauna sauna

varasto kuivaushuone

G

liikehuoneisto

C-talo yl채kellari 2000

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Description of process


2.2: Development of proposals After engaging with the residents and the property manager through conversations and interviews and observing the surroundings, I develop and re-evaluate the initial ideas.

Influence of encounters with context: Diverse and changing needs The encounters using the time-line tool stress the importance of designing for diverse needs and constant social change. The time-line study reveals that shared spaces have developed over time as a result of various spatial alterations to cater more for individual needs. I discover that private dwellings are not necessarily made up of spatially connected spaces (see sketch). Residents have small private patches within the open green space. Garage spaces are more than storage spaces, but function as part of a resident’s home. The club room offers a temporal extension of the home by being a weekly haven for senior residents in particular. I understand that these additional spaces can offer greater choice to residents regarding their home. I therefore strengthen the idea of private spaces located beyond the apartment. I think of the car parking spaces as part of the dwelling, and propose these spaces be rented at the same fee, but used for other purposes such as for planting. This is also inspired by

Sketch depicting idea of private home being made up of a collection of separate spaces.

architect Xavier Monteys’s writing on “house discontinuity” described in part I of this thesis. On closer inspection, I reject the idea of the garage transformed into a dwelling space. It would lead to cutting off circulation routes within the ground floor of the building. I see the value in cheap rentable space as an extension of the home, as described in the previous paragraph. It is one way of going towards catering for diverse needs in housing, which is especially relevant for alterations to existing apartment buildings, where, for legal and practical reasons, greatest possibilities for making alterations are to be found beyond the apartment.

Flexibility As discussed earlier, flexibility is one way of responding to diverse and changing needs. The study of the physical alterations and social uses of the buildings’ shared spaces over time reveals which spaces are most flexible. Spaces with either direct external access, visibility from the courtyard space or with multiple access points have been most heavily used and conducive to multiple uses. Examples are the garage spaces, the bicycle stores of C-house (see sketch) and also the bicycle store in A-house with two entrances, which has allowed for the space to be split into a less secure and a more secure bicycle store. I intend to strengthen these qualities. I emphasise flexibility more in the proposals, through the addition of entrances to shared spaces and increased visibility.

Sketch depicting existing flexibility in the buildings’ shared spaces. Description of process

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Everyday reality I put a stronger emphasis on the utility of the proposals and more of a focus on easing everyday tasks of residents. I propose laundry facilities in each building in response to the issue of mobility. I question the robustness of ideas. I sense the nature of a generous entrance space, where people can lounge around, would not be appropriate.

Complexity In order to visualise the complex net of ideas derived from the study of the context (see sketch), I borrow from the idea of the “design capitalia” tool (Fuad-Luke, 2012).

Visualisation of the complex situaton.

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Description of process

“DesignCAPITALIA” is a tool developed by Alastair Fuad-Luke and design researchers in the Department of Design at Aalto University. It can used as a way of visualising a complex situation. The idea is to consider which ‘capitals’ we want to grow, nourish, protect, or diminish when making design decisions (Fuad-Luke, 2012).


3: Collaborative envisioning

3.1: Encounters with context I organise an event with the view of collaboratively envisioning the development of the shared spaces with residents and the property manager. The event is to be open to all, inspired by such participatory projects as the Byker Wall project described in the literary review, which involved the setting up of a community office with an open doors policy. Another influence is the open doors event that took place during the Suburb 2072 project. Sketched diagram based on a diagram by Foverskov & Dam (2010) depicting the idea of the evocative sketch, which is ‘for others’ and ‘open’.

Preparation of material for open doors event I prepare proposals for possible future alterations to shared spaces as a reference for stakeholders. The importance of providing a reference as something for residents to react against during participatory processes was emphasised by Hasu (2010) in relation to the planning of a terraced housing project. I explore tools used in the early stage of participatory design processes. Based on the idea of “the evocative sketch” (Foverskov, Dam, 2010; see box) I develop the visualisation of proposals (see sketches on following page). My intention is to make sketches that will open up discussion, rather than being precious artifacts in themselves, and encourage a re-framing of the use of shared spaces. Along with sketching my own proposals on ‘what if ’ cards, I provide empty ‘what if ’ cards for others to propose new ideas.

The evocative sketch When visualising design proposals, particular sketching techniques can be used as a means of sharing and evoking new ideas when collaborating with non-designers (Halse et al, 2010, p39). The evocative sketch is one such technique. As opposed to the traditional design process, which leaves sketching for others till nearer the end of a process with the intention of convincing clients, the evocative sketch is a way of sketching for others, which invites them to collaborate in the design process. These sketches are drawn as simple line drawings “in a deliberately loose and naive style”, with stick men, which do not show gender, age or ethnicity. The dialogue is therefore not about the details or the accomplishment of the sketch but is rather concentrated on the ideas in general. (Foverskov, Dam, 2010, pp44-49) These sketches can be used on “what if ”-cards. “What seems to be important in the “what if ”-cards is that they operate both on a very mundane and practical level as well as on a more abstract and generative level” (Foverskov, Dam, 2010, pp44-49). Asking “what if…” “explicitly invites the listening participant to start contributing to the idea by imagining what the consequences of this particular new way of looking at the topic might be”(Halse et al, 2010, p39) Description of process

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The development of visualisation techniques for the colloborative event from architectural techniques of representation to a sketchy naive technique of representing proposals.

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Description of process


Poster advertising the open doors event, which I put up on the wall of every stairwell.

I continue to use the time-line tool, inviting stakeholders to be involved in both the telling of the buildings’ past and also the shaping of its future. The intention with depicting past changes is also to visualise that the buildings have been continuously renovated and will

Back of invitation to open doors event with map to club room.

continue to be in the future, and thereby asking how these inevitable future renovations could be taken advantage of. I make a poster, which I put on the wall of each stairwell, and an invitation, which I post into each of the 160 apartments. Outline of encounters My encounters consist of the open doors event and a second meeting with the property manager. The event is held in the clubroom of the housing complex and takes place over four consecutive days, for two hours each day. I invite all residents and the property manager. I engage with 24 residents and one member of the property manager staff during the event, ranging from children, to people of working age to pensioners. The female/male breakdown is 17 females to 8 males. 5 residents come to the event on more than one occasion. There are three members of the property manager office at the second meeting with the property manager. This takes place after the open doors event. Description of process

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Insights gained from encounters Facilitating participation The event and second meeting with the property manager is significant in gaining an insight into the role of the architect in the context of apartment building renovation in terms of drawing out dwellers’ expertise of the building. I discover the architect’s role could be a facilitator - someone who makes it easy for residents and other stakeholders to take part in the early ideation phase. In rental housing in particular, the role of architect could be important in joining the worlds of the residents and property manager. During the event there is a feeling that residents are an active part of the project, something a resident comments on - that they, the residents, are part of the thesis project. Making proposals as reference The event reiterates the importance of the architect making proposals as a reference as

Residents were also invited to tell the story of the history of the shared spaces during the open doors event.

something for people to react against. This is evident when comparing the results having asked people in the initial stages of the research during interviews what their wishes for the future of shared spaces would be, to the results of the event. The open-endedness of these proposals is important. I sense people are not afraid to be open and honest. The simplicity of the sketches allows for criticism. Some participants initially have no wishes or ideas, but after having a proposal described to them or on hearing another resident’s idea, then come up with their own suggestions. There are three members of the property manager office at our second meeting. There is an open and positive atmosphere. It is more fruitful than our first conversation as there are concrete proposals to react against. The property manager employees are active and also participate by coming up with their own ideas.

Length of event and informality The fact that the event ran for four days is important. People come back more than once, coming up with new ideas overnight. There are advantages with an open studio style event in comparison to a traditional residents’ meeting. There are many different voices, some more powerful than others. The spatial setup and informality of the situation is important. People use the opportunity of when I am refilling the coffee machine in the kitchenette to make suggestions of future change, rather than say them in front of everyone. Encounters in passing that happen with residents as I am arriving or leaving the club

Image showing myself attaching proposals to the future section of the shared space timeline during the open doors event. 81

Description of process


above and right: Images of residents discussing proposals, suggesting their own proposals, and musing over the future section of the time-line during the open doors event.

Image showing future section of time-line in use during second meeting with property manager.

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room are important. People voice concrete concerns affecting their daily lives and express dismay at not having time to make it to resident meetings. Valuable information goes untold. Proximity and time of day In terms of practicalities, the proximity of the event and the time of the day it is held is important. The event was held in the A-stairwell of A-house. A rough estimate would be that a quarter of all participants were from the A-stairwell, and a half from the A-house. This would suggest that having the event on as close as possible to residents’ regular routes in a and out of the building is important for encouraging participation. It terms of time, evenings suited some, but early afternoon others. From the point of view of the architect, is was also enlightening to experience the context at the weekend. It revealed how the garage spaces activate the courtyard space, with men standing around chatting.

Images showing the progression of the time-line which functions as a platform for discussion and ideation. 83

Description of process


Skills and tools The time-line tool works well as a platform for discussion, and transferred well from the event to the second meeting with the property manager. The more radical ideas can be placed far in the future and are as such deemed acceptable. The skills I need improve over time, such as documenting ideas and comments, and encouraging people to write down their own ideas. The four days give me time to develop different techniques. I had thought people would make their own sketches using the “what if?” cards, but in general people prefer to use text. However, people make markings on the axonometric representations of the courtyard. The event highlights other social skills that are important in this context, for example negotiating a situation when there is a strong difference of opinion. Change in habits, needs and desires The closer contact with residents using the time-line tool during the event emphasises again the change in people’s habits, needs and desires; and the potential of responding to these changes. For example, the saunas were built at a time when their function was that of hygiene rather than relaxation. The event shows that people’s relationship with saunas no longer runs true with the utilitarian intentions with which they were built. Many residents today see the sauna as a space for enjoyment rather than necessity. By responding to these changes, the shared spaces can be developed to be of more value to residents. Many do not

Along with sketching my own ideas onto ‘what if?’ and ‘in the future...’ cards I provide piles of empty cards for others to write their own ideas.

use the basement sauna, but say they would use the sauna, if it were located on the roof with a terrace. Small details and luxury I find the proposals that interested participants most where those that had a tangible impact on the experience of living there - either by adjusting a small annoying detail, which has a potentially large effect on daily life, such as the dimensions of the doors to the lift, or else a change that offers real luxury, such as a rooftop sauna and terrace. The event stresses how seemingly small details can have have a big impact on people’s everyday lives. The process uncovers the everyday experience of small spatial details. I learn

Residents write suggestions on the ‘what if?’ and ‘in the future...’ cards during the open doors event. Description of process

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that for some, the lack of a direct internal access straight from one’s stairwell to shared spaces is a real problem if someone finds it difficult to walk, especially when the ground is icy. From my study of the drawings, I had not picked up on this detail, which now seems obvious. Another small detail with a big impact is that of the entrances to the A-house and the feeling of safety. Before stepping outside into the courtyard, residents feel they must look left and then right for fear of moving vehicles. The property manager is most interested in big dramatic changes. The cost of small nonstructural changes is not deemed a problem. The property manager is open to new ideas as long as the responsibility lies with the residents, as they do not have the resources to be monitoring spaces.

The idea of a rooftop sauna gets people interested.

Crossover between social and technical I come to the conclusion that the architect could highlight the crossover between residents’ ideas and the necessary technical renovation of housing buildings. The optimum situation, and where there is most opportunity for change, is where there is a marrying of social and technical need. If there are upcoming technical renovations, then these can be taken advantage of, such as in this case the upcoming elevator upgrade and the facade renovation. The property manager will do something when it is technically necessary. Participation early in the process I find that this kind of participatory event with the residents and property manager should happen early on in the process, rather than during the planning stage of a particular renovation measure. The discussion is open and creative, when considering possibilities ten years down the line. It could be a way of ensuring social needs and desires are embedded in every

Residents have concrete concerns effecting their living environment, in this case, the fumes from car exhaust pipes making their way into bedrooms.

decision made about the renovation plan of the building.

Real opportunity is to be found when there is a crossover between social and technical needs. In this case the desire for more colour in the facades and an impending facade renovation are compatible.

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There is an open, relaxed atmosphere during the open doors event. People are not afraid to discuss and criticise proposals.

Some issues gain consensus, in this case the desire to remove parking places from in front of A-house. Description of process

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2.2: Development of proposals The event and second meeting with the property manager feeds into the design process. I develop the proposals further.

Influence of encounters with context I emphasise proposals that were of most interest to participants - ideas that offer luxury. This includes the roof sauna and terrace, and the relaxation space adjoining the laundry. Also, I emphasise proposals where there is a strong consensus, in this case the desire for removing car parking spaces in front of A-house. I investigate small details with big impacts on people’s lives. I address these details, such as ensuring direct internal circulation routes, alterations to lift doors and the feeling of safety when emerging from A-house entrances in view of the movement of cars. Flexibility comes up again. Collaborations with residents reveals that the club room could be opened up to more use if it could be broken down into separate spaces. The encounters show that the design of external spaces requires a particularly good sense of judgement. Proposals for external spaces, made by me and other residents, such as the club room terrace and the barbecue, are the source of greatest difference and strength of opinion. These activities, though requiring relatively small initial material investment, are reliant on continuous human resources. They are deemed not to be appropriate in such a large housing complex, and also considering the public nature of the external space, at least for the moment. My design response is to propose making the framework for such activities in the spirit of Hertzberger as a way of suggesting possible future uses, for example opening up direct external access from the club room, rather than construct an actual terrace; and laying a number of paving slabs as a suggestion for a designated location for a barbecue, rather than the construction of a barbecue shelter. I focus on those changes where there is a cross-over between residents’ desires and technical necessity, as this is where the real opportunity for implementing change is. Examples include the upcoming facade renovation and the upcoming elevator upgrade. New ideas arose from the event - desire for colours on the facade, and a desire for a larger space for recycling larger objects such as furniture, for example when people are moving out. This is something the property manager would be open to, but requires the commitment of a resident to take charge. The meeting with the property manager stresses the reality of rents rising with such an intervention as a roof sauna. I develop proposals to be more financially viable. I investigate the construction of additional dwellings as a means of financing the alterations. Though some residents had suggested additional construction on the site, the current area plan prohibits this.

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Proposals Along with responding to the encounters, the proposals incorporate longterm considerations. In this case the focus is on flexibility, which is important for ensuring the longterm value of the building, by responding to the unpredictability of social change, and the unknown desires and needs of future residents. Collage technique incorporating everyday objects such as curtains, used by Lacaton & Vassal for representing future alterations to apartment buildings.

The proposals consists of two versions - one requiring a light investment, and a second requiring heavier investment. The sketch plans of these proposals are to be found at the end of this section.

Representing future proposals Architects Lacaton & Vassal use a collage method (see image) of representing future visions in their building transformation projects, which incorporate everyday objects. For the presentation of the final sketches these images are used as a reference with regards medium and style. I use objects from photographs taken by myself of the context and also from the residents’ photo album.

Light version These proposed alterations do not require significant structural change or intervention. They are illustrated by the proposed A-house and C-house drawings.

Paved platforms The alterations include the addition of a non-slip paved platform at the entrance to each stairwell, each with its own unique dimensions. This marks the entrance, and creates a stage or suggests uses, for which there is already a working mechanism to implement, for example the addition of a flowerpot or a bench. The pedestrian zone is thus defined, and visually marked as an aid to car drivers. A location for a barbecue is suggested through the construction of a paved platform in the green space.

Coloured plinths Each of the three buildings has its own hue of red-ochre colour. This is inspired by buildings of a similar era in Pihlajamäki. These colours tie in with the paving platforms. It strengthens the sense of the upper floors floating above the ground floor plane.

Green patches Inspired by the existing rich green space culture and the desire for the removal of car parking spaces in front of A-house, the car parking spaces turn into green spaces. Residents have the option of renting a patch for private use, at the same cost as a parking space. This alteration would require a change in the area plan (in Finnish: kaavamuutos), as it would result in Description of process

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a reduction of car parking spaces. However, as the spaces are not being constructed on, the green space can be ear-marked as being returned to car parking spaces in the future if the need arises. Also, at the moment there are empty car parking spaces in the large car parking area in front of B-house, justifying a reduction in number. This possibility is also proposed for those car parking spaces closest to the entrances to B- and C-houses.

Mobility and storage (A-house) The circulation routes are rationalised and opened up to more natural light. There is now direct internal access from all stairwells to the shared spaces in the ground level. The second changing room to the sauna is removed as this is deemed inappropriate to modern standards to have the shared sauna opening on to two changing rooms. This allows for an additional external entrance, increasing flexibility of use. Three new bicycle stores are constructed, with two different entrances allowing for different levels of security, something identified as successful in the current bicycle store. The ground-floor door to the elevator is replaced with a door with a window, thus reducing the occurrence of accidental bumping into passers-by, as described by residents. The existing fire-doors are replaced with fire-doors with glass.

Club room Additional entrances are proposed. The club room becomes larger as it takes over the bicycle store, now housed in an external structure. The club room is thus visible from the courtyard. The club room gains an accessible toilet, along with a larger kitchen. Two external accesses are made - through the former bicycle store, and through the gable wall. There is now flexibility to break spaces down into different uses, and at the same time the cosiness of the hidden away club room is not diminished, something enjoyed at the moment by the seniors’ club. If deemed unnecessary to the club room, these spaces can be rented to individual residents in the same way garage spaces are rented. Locks systems enable easy multiple options of use.

Garage spaces An additional transparent layer is installed in some of the garage spaces, expanding the realm of what these spaces can be used for, for example as a workshop or office space. This would require an application for the change of use of these spaces. Though there would be a modest rise in the rent of these spaces, they would still be significantly below the rent per m2 of apartments. The portfolio of shared spaces on offer to residents would thus be diversified.

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Relaxation laundry room coupled with possible location of recycling centre (C-house) Non-structural walls are removed and an additional aperture made in a structural wall in order to transform the current dark, tight corridor leading to the laundry into an open spacious relaxation room for those waiting for their laundry. Adjoining drying rooms become a possible location for the apartment complex’s recycling centre for larger objects. This visibility from the laundry room, provides an additional activity while waiting for one’s laundry.

Heavier version (B-house) The roof space is converted into four one-bed apartments and two generous sauna complexes. Personal storage spaces are relocated to the basement level, where the sauna, and bicycle and pram storage spaces were previously located. Bicycle storage is provided by the addition of three external structures, one associated with each stairwell. A larger lift is constructed to the exterior of the building, which accommodates a large wheelchair comfortably or other large objects, such as furniture or a stretcher. The other lifts are continued up a floor to the roof level. The rent of the four additional apartments finance the work. An additional laundry is installed. The ground floor circulation route is opened up to more light. As well as replacing the fire-doors with fire-doors with glass, additional openings are made in the internal walls bringing additional natural light into the stairwells.

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Light proposal Images showing courtyard space in front of A-house existing and proposed. This depicts the ‘light’ proposal, which involves no significant structural changes. Paved platforms at the entrance to each stairwell, each with its own unique dimensions, marks the entrance, and creates a stage or suggests uses, for which there is already a working mechanism to implement, for example the addition of a flowerpot or a bench. The pedestrian zone is thus defined, and visually marked as an aid to car drivers. Coloured plinths strengthens the sense of the upper floors floating above the ground floor plane.

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Light proposal

B-house

C-house

A-house

existing site plan 1:1500

paved platforms visually mark entrances and provide stage for residents’ additions eg. flowerpots or benches

B-house

bicycle stores C-house

proposed site plan 1:1500

A-house

car parking spaces become green spaces, with option of renting patch for private use

paved platform as suggested location for barbecue Description of process

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Light proposal

second jätekatos 18,0 m sauna changing room removed allowing for additional external entrance, increasing flexibility of use 2

muuntamo 15,5 m2

pukuhuone 7,5 m2

pesuh. 7,5 m2

sauna 8,5 m2

sähkö 4,0 m2 siiv.

vesimittari 6,0 m2 porrashuone 21,5 m2

WC

pukuh. 7,0 m2

autotalli 20,5 m2

pesuh. 6,5 m2

autotalli 20,5 m2

porrashuone 26,0 m2

varasto 4,5 m2 kuivaush. 8,0 m2

var. var.

kylmiö 10,5 m2

var. var.

autotalli 20,5 m2

var. kylmiö 10,5 m2

var. var.

autotalli 20,5 m2

porrashuone 26,0 m2

kerhotila 64,0 m2 ulkoiluväl. ulkoiluväl. 12,0 m2 11,5 m2

direct internal access from all stairwells to shared spaces

bicycle stores accommodate internal spatial remodelling

accessible toilet larger kitchen

expanded club room with visibility from courtyard, flexibility to break spaces down into different uses

lower ground floor plan | A-building | 1:200

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green spaces replace car parking spaces additional transparent layer to garage expands possibilities of use

lämmönjakohuone 20,0 m2

existing ground floor plan A-house 1:400

paved platforms

proposed ground floor plan A-house 1:400


Light proposal

liiketila 117,5 m2 porrashuone 13,5 m2

kuivaushuone 15,5 m2 varasto 15,5 m2 sähkÜ

varasto 11,5 m2 porrashuone 13,5 m2

pukuh. 12,5 m2

pesuh. 10,5 m2

sauna 5,5 m2

pesuh. 9,5 m2

sauna 5,5 m2

pukuh. 10,5 m2

kuivaush. 12,5 m2

WC

tek.

pesutupa 15,5 m2 pesutupa 16,5 m2

varasto 15,5 m2

varasto 15,5 m2 varasto 11,5 m2 porrashuone 13,5 m2

possible location of recycling room

kuivaushuone 9,0 m2

relaxation room in laundry with balcony

kuivaushuone 9,0 m2 kuivaushuone 15,5 m2

loor plan | C-building | 1:200 existing upper ground floor plan C-house 1:400

proposed upper ground floor plan C-house 1:400

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Heavy proposal Images showing B-house roof space existing and proposed. This depicts the ‘heavier’ proposal, which involves structural changes. The roof space is converted into four one-bed apartments which go towards financing two new sauna complexes with generous roof terraces.

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Heavy proposal

bicycle stores accommodate internal spatial remodelling siiv. varasto 20,0 m2

vesimittari 6,0 m2

additional entrances increases flexibility of use, space can be rented for private use as per garages

porrashuone 21,5 m2

ulkoiluvälinev. 11,5 m2

ulkoiluvälinevarasto 16,0 m2

kuivaushuone 15,5 m2

autotalli 20,5 m2

autotalli 20,5 m2

sauna 5,0 m2

porrashuone 26,0 m2

larger elevator

tek.

pesuh. 6,0 m2 WC pukuhuone 5,5 m2 pukuhuone 5,5 m2

var.

personal storage spaces are relocated to the basement level, where sauna, and bicycle and pram storage spaces were previously located

var. var. var.

autotalli 20,5 m2

var. pesuh. WC 8,0 m2 siiv. sauna 5,0 m2

kylmiö 12,5 m2

var. var.

varasto 2,0 m2

autotalli 20,5 m2

porrashuone 26,0 m2

var. var.

kylmiö 8,0 m2

var.

entinen rikkahuone 24,5 m2

var.

lämmönjakohuone 15,5 m2

additional laundry

kiinteistöhoito 15,5 m2 sähkö 4,0 m2

lower ground floor plan | B-building | 1:200 existing ground floor plan B-house 1:400

proposed ground floor plan B-house 1:400

stairwell extended and rearranged to accommodate larger elevator apartment storage space extended seat

section of typical floor plan | B-building | 1:200 existing typical upper floor plan B-house 1:400

proposed typical upper floor plan B-house 1:400

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Heavy proposal

four additional onebed apartments go towards financing renovation work

porrashuone hissik. 11,0 m2 4,5 m2

number of personal stores in roof space reduced by relocating stores to ground floor level to accommodate remodelling work

ilmastointik.hissik. porrashuone 11,0 m2 8,5 m2 4,5 m2

two sauna complexes with possibility of transforming into one larger complex

porrashuone hissik. 11,0 m2 4,5 m2

paisunta 4,5 m2

existing roof plan B-house 1:400

roof space plan | B-building | 1:200

proposed roof plan B-house 1:400

sauna complex with terrace

existing section B-house 1:400

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proposed section B-house 1:400


3: Conclusion to part II

I suspected there might be an extended role for architectural practice in the renovation of existing apartment buildings in Finland towards making a positive impact on people’s lives. I assumed this additional role could be about drawing out and using the valuable accrued knowledge and experience of the buildings in order to make better proposals for future alterations. My experience with the case study suggests this is the case. The facilitation of collaborative envisioning brought out new information and ideas, and these were integrated into the final proposals for alteration to shared spaces.

How can an architect draw out this knowledge? The case study shows that an architect can draw out this knowledge by making it easy for people to participate and be involved in the early ideation process. Ways of making participation easier could be facilitating informality (as in lack of an arena in the sense that when one speaks at a residents’ meeting one is on stage), a possibility of anonymity, and an opportunity to give feedback over a number of days and at different times of the day. The case study reiterates the importance of stimulating discussion and reaction. An architect can propose ideas as a reference point, and propose luxury as a means of getting people interested. Tools are useful as a way of drawing out residents’ expertise. The time-line tool is an example of a tool an architect could use. It worked well as a shared platform for envisioning the future of the shared spaces with different stakeholders. It also functioned as a tool for visualising that both the building’s physical and social structure are constantly changing, inferring that the same change will happen in the future. Having years printed largely, such as “2015” and “2025”, helped in keeping the focus on longer term changes. In some instances, the architect could play the role of mediator, when there is strong difference of opinion.

How does this additional knowledge and input go towards making better proposals? The process of being involved with residents and the property manager generates new ideas, and new ways of looking and thinking. It highlights the unique qualities of a place. It is a means of making more robust proposals. Collaborative envisioning is a way of testing proposals against the reality of everyday life. Gaining an understanding of the social life of shared spaces, rather than just physical, led to an understanding of the importance of flexibility. It was also a way of understanding concretely which spaces are flexible and why, enabling this qualities to be strengthened. Drawing out this everyday knowledge is a means of ensuring the social dimension is embedded in all decisions regarding the renovation of apartment buildings. Residents’ knowledge and input can go towards pinpointing the possible crossover between residents’ needs and desires, and necessary technical renovation.

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Discussion

The main message of this thesis is that renovation offers the opportunity of an expanded role to architectural practice. It is an opportunity for architects to influence the built environment in a way that has a positive impact on people’s lives.

Expanded role The role of the architect in renovation is understood as being important for having knowledge of old building techniques and the cultural heritage of buildings, promoting spatial usability and aesthetic considerations, and also for being in the position of grasping the whole picture. The architect is also important as being a visionary and innovative, and ensuring longterm considerations are taken into account. My addition to this list is that the role of architect can be important for ensuring the social is accounted for by drawing out user knowledge of the building and extracting the unique qualities of the context, which can be fed into the design process. I draw conclusions from the case-study as to how an architect might go about doing that.

Architect as facilitator of meaningful resident participation The fact that existing buildings have residents, property managers, and maintenance companies that are experts in the building in question is an invaluable resource. The case study shows that users have valuable ideas and concrete concerns regarding their living environment that can go unexpressed. This thesis proposes that an architect’s role can be to make it easier for people to be involved in the development of their living environment. The case study indicates that an informal setup, such as an open doors session spaced out over a couple of days makes it easier for people to fit into their schedule, and helps the quieter voices be heard. An architect’s ready-made open-ended proposals can function as a reference and something for people to react against and stimulate new ideas. The architect can use different tools for directing the discussion towards longer term thinking. I found the time-line tool effective.

Improving housing: responding to individual, diverse and changing needs The literary review emphasises increased participation of the resident and enhancing flexibility as means of improving housing design towards having a positive impact on residents’ lives. Flexibility increases choice for the resident and longterm value of a building, by being better able to respond to diverse needs and changing circumstances. The thesis research shows increased resident participation and flexibility are also relevant improvement strategies in the context of existing buildings. The case study shows that the process of drawing out everyday expertise of a building can generate new ideas, highlight the unique qualities of a place, reveal concrete issues effecting people’s lives and lead to more robust proposals by being tested against the reality of everyday life. It also pinpoints which spaces are flexible, enabling that quality to be strengthened.

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Embedding the social in every decision By reflecting the case study back on existing building upkeep guidelines, it becomes evident that an opportunity for the architect lies in the making of the resident survey of the building survey, towards improving existing housing buildings. The building survey is to be carried out every five years. According to the guidelines, the planning of renovation measures of a building is based on the renovation plan of a building, which is based on the proposed “longterm plan of a building” (in Finnish: pitkän tähtäimen suunnitelma (PTS)), which is in turn based on the building survey (see diagram). The building survey is an opportunity for implementing change in seeking out where the technical and social concerns meet early on in the process in an atmosphere of openness. The literature reveals the important role the resident survey plays in decision making on future interventions. Lappalainen (2012) emphasises that the building survey should start off with a resident survey, which asks about comfort issues such as ventilation and temperature, and also for development suggestions, and that this resident survey dictates the work of the planner and also informs the residents about the future work. This thesis proposes that an expanded version of the resident survey, such as the open doors event described in the case study, could be an opportunity for an architect to draw out resident expertise, that could otherwise lie uncovered, towards making better alteration proposals. This could be a means of ensuring the social is embedded in all decision making regarding the renovation of apartment buildings. Life of an apartment building The diagram shows a simplified representation of the development of a building over time in accordance with building guidelines, pinpointing the opportunity for an architect’s expanded role within the resident survey. (author’s diagram)

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At what cost? The process of involving residents is time-consuming. Who is willing to pay for this service? For the architect, the methods and tools used in the service offered could be developed to be transferable to other contexts in order to be cost-effective. It reiterates the issue raised in the literary review regarding the challenge of convincing clients that interventions would be profitable. In the case of an expanded resident survey, the challenge for the architect is to find ways of showing that it would be a value-enhancing exercise. One question that could be asked is what the cost of not embedding social considerations into the renovation our existing housing stock would be?

Limitations to case study During the collaborative envisioning of shared spaces, only myself, the property manager and the residents were involved. Ideally, the whole range of expertise, such as mechanical, electrical and structural engineers would be involved in the early stage ideation. The case study did not investigate ideas for reducing energy and carbon emissions beyond spatial considerations. However, a kind of collaborative environment such as depicted in the case study could be also conducive to ensuring social considerations are integrated into proposals for new technologies or systems, and could be an opportunity to test them against the realities of the everyday and lead to new technologies being better accepted.

Future research - learn from studying the evolution of existing buildings The time-line study shows there is a lot to be learnt from studying the interaction between people and the physical building over time. It was insightful to visualise how the shared spaces of the case study buildings developed over time to allow for more customised living. It was a means of understanding which kinds of spaces were most flexible and which spaces were underused and why. It could inform the design of new buildings. For example, new housing could have a very diverse selection of shared spaces on offer to rent as a way of providing choice to residents. As Lacaton & Vassal (2002) emphasise, “conversion enables us to promote a new way of looking” and is “the only possible solution in order to escape the building standards”.

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Drawing out everyday expertise – Expanded role of architect in renovation of apartment buildings