The city of Helsinki organised an international design and construction competition on the design, development, construction and financing of the Kamppi Centre in 1999. As a result of the competition, the design commission was given to a group of offices including Helin & Co Architects in collaboration with MRN Architects and ARX Architects, Juhani Pallasmaa Architects and Davidsson Architects. Kamppi Centre was completed in 2005 and Helsinki city centre received a new buzzing heart.
The new structure was bound to the existing surroundings, both functionally and physically. The Kamppi Centre is a multipurpose complex with dwelling units, commercial facilities, offices and public transportation terminal. It includes Helsinki’s largest pedestrian zone continuum with a varied sequence of squares. The most western square, Tennispalatsiaukio, is a green area surrounded by cafes and restaurants with summer and winter terraces, the Tennispalatsi cinema and museum centre and many retail services. The Kamppi Centre is accessible with public transportation, which makes it a hub of traffic. The centre is lively around the clock, because of the versatile functions.
The interiors on the street level of the Kamppi Centre are public spaces with restaurants, shops and terminals overlapping each other. The office complex is organised into three volumes. The type of space is a combination of the cellular and a room layout, which is not found in old buildings in central Helsinki. The office buildings open towards the street Urho Kekkosen katu creating views towards the facades of the opposite city block.
Every office volume is followed by a block of flats on the side of the Tennispalatsinaukio square. Between these different spaces, on the roof of the shopping mall, are the courtyards of the flats, where views open from the offices also. The courtyards between the volumes create scale and rhythm for the entity. They enable the daylight to flow through them in different angles along the course of the day.
The overall design of the flats follows functional efficiency and economical use of space. Each volume contains one staircase connected to 3–7 flats per floor. The colours of the facades of the blocks of flats differ from each other. The facades are characterised with the steel structure of the whole balcony system as well as the steel and glass canopies of the shopping mall facade and the orangery projections of the restaurants together with zones of timber and stone.