• Idea plan for further development of a district
  • 2021-
  • Ranking 1st
  • Concept name “Rento ruutukaava” (Casual grid plan)
  • Scope ca. 37,1 ha
  • Location Old Hiukkavaara, Oulu
  • Client City of Oulu

Starting point

The goal with the idea designs commissioned by City of Oulu was the development of Old Hiukkavaara into a vivid, 1400 resident neighbourhood with the culturohistorical values considered and preserving and strengthening the existing diverse cultural activity. Out of three entries, our plan was chosen to be the best.


The Old Hiukkavaara barracks are located on the north side of the Oulujoki river, about 7 kilometres away from downtown Oulu. A distinctive feature of the area is a hub of diverse cultural and recreational activities developed in the former barracks buildings. Verdancy to the area is brought by the through-flowing Myllyoja brook. Old Hiukkavaara is part of a greater Hiukkavaara district centre, the largest district in development within the next decades in Oulu and Northern Finland.


In Old Hiukkavaara centre, one feels like living in an urban small town amidst the northern nature. The “Casual grid plan” forms a clear, yet adaptive grid plan structure abiding by the old barracks gradian.

Varied with three type city blocks, the grid is dense and low in nature. As central attractions in all block typologies are the high-quality, lush courtyards.

The relatively low, mainly two-storey block structure is optimal for carbon neutral wood construction. Few of the higher city blocks explore an atrium typology, suited well for communal living and enabling good small apartments.

area section

The central streets through Old Hiukkavaara have a city-like density, yet account for the space requirements of traffic and snow.

The historic training square forms the heart of Old Hiukkavaara, a hub where recreation routes and culture meet all-year-round.