HELSINKI, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and the city of Helsinki are launching an international competition for building a sustainable and innovative block in the Western Harbor of Helsinki. This competition is a search for teams that can provide an architecture of solutions.

The project to build up a harbor area almost in the middle of Helsinki is very innovative in the sense that we are genuinely combining different aspects of urban, environmental, social, and business innovation. We aim to prove that national and international sustainability targets can be reached cost-effectively through high quality architectural solutions that are robust and reproduceable, says Marco Steinberg, Director of Strategic Design in Sitra.

What is clear is that no single organization, profession or ministry can achieve the goals of sustainable urban development by itself. It will require an architecture of solutions including low or no carbon buildings; sustainable economic models; enhanced mobility; sustainable planning and energy policies; resilient social systems among countless others. And for each problem, care must be taken to ensure that the solution will not undermine progress at different scales. This is a way to promote systemic changes that reach the whole scale of what is at stake, Marco Steinberg continues.

Energy efficiency is one of the key tools when the world is combating climate change. However, in the international scale sustainable and systemic urban development and constructing are still an exception rather than convention.

High savings in energy consumption are possible for new buildings and existing old building substance - with a consequent significant reduction in CO2-emissions. This opens up a highly interesting range of tasks for architects and engineers worldwide, says Jukka Noponen, director of the Energy Programme in Sitra.

We hope that a model of sustainable urbanism emerges from the competition proposals that will not only serve the City of Helsinki and its inhabitants, but also be a learning model for development globally, Noponen says.

The competition was launched in an international seminar Energy Efficiency in Built Environment which was held in Helsinki on 31st March.

Further Information:

Jukka Noponen, Executive Director, Energy Programme, Tel. +358-9-6189-9430