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Sito wins ideas and design competition for roundabouts in Joensuu city centre

The City of Joensuu held a combined ideas and design competition for roundabouts in the city centre, including their street environment and appearance in the cityscape. On 6 September 2013, the jury announced that the winner of the competition is PUNOS, the entry submitted by the Sito working group.

The jury noted that the winning entry has a clear overall concept and will stand the test of time. The design is based on Karelian handicrafts in diverse ways and is an advanced concept. The theme is impressive and suits its environment well without being too dominant in the cityscape.

The competition brief was to design a unifying theme for the six new roundabouts being planned around the city centre of Joensuu. The theme was required to give the roundabouts coherence yet give each intersection a unique identity. The position of each roundabout in the urban structure and its significance to the cityscape had to be taken into account in the design.

Karelian heritage theme

In Sito’s winning entry, the roundabouts were themed around handicrafts and a culture of collection and preservation.

“The idea for the artworks to be placed in the roundabouts has Karelian roots. Joensuu is very much a Karelian city, so it seemed only natural to leverage the cultural history and heritage of the region in some way,” says Mikko Rikala, a member of the working group.

Handicrafts are highly valued in the Karelian heritage. Basket-weaving and other knotwork are typical ancient skills that have been passed down the generations. “The working group considered a number of options before settling on the basket motif,” says Rikala.

Solution with a local flair

The materials and scale were chosen so as to match the challenges of a modern urban landscape. The functional traffic flows are balanced by the simple, sculptural forms of the central areas, which show themselves in different aspects as vehicles drive around the roundabouts and their occupants’ perspectives change. Seasonal variations and special lighting add to the experience.

The artworks to be placed in the roundabouts will be made of weather-resistant wood and steel. The foundation materials are single-component and simple materials. Local suppliers can be used for the technological designs and materials deliveries.

The members of the Sito working group were:

Visual arts:  Hannu Siren, sculptor
Street environment design:    Marja Oittinen, landscape architect; Sisko Hovila, architect; and Jenny Asanti, landscape architect
Industrial design:   Mikko Rikala, industrial designer, MA
Street construction and services, technical expert, construction cost management:       Sami Pailamo, engineer AMK
Lighting: Leena Kaanaa, M.Sc.(Tech.)
Structural design: Mirja Toivari-Holm, M.Sc.(Tech.)
Water technology expert: Ilkka Metsälä, M.Sc.(Tech.)