The Greenest Of The Green | Länsisatamankatu 36 / Hyväntoivonkatu 4, Helsinki

The idea for the Greenest of the Green project was born when a representative of the developer, the “Father of the Project” Markku Hainari from TA Ltd. came to exchange ideas with me, the “Mother of the Project,” Taina Suonio. I was giving a lecture on urban runoff and green roofs at the urban runoff seminar organized by the City of Vantaa. As we were talking after the event, Hainari uttered the historical line that became the basis of the entire Greenest of the Green apartment building project: “Taina, let’s make Helsinki green!” “Would that be feasible?” Hainari asked me. “Yes, it would,” I responded. My faith in the success of the project was based on the education I received in the United King- dom in landscape design and horticulture, as well as my extensive work history in garden design and roof gardens. Hainari’s inspiration was based on the herb garden he had seen on the terrace of the Savoy restaurant in Helsinki, the trees growing on the rooftops along the Champs-Élysees in Paris, and the green roof of the clubhouse of Vuosaari Golf in Helsinki. The design goals of the Greenest of the Green apartment building project were very clear from the start. The objective of my design was to build a block and make it as green as possible: the greenness of the block would be all-encom- passing. All choices would be made with ecological principles and sustainable development in mind. Vegetation was a priority in the plans, of course. The pri- mary idea was to create the first thoroughly green block in Finland with facades completely covered with vegetation. The look and feel of the living environment and, thus, also the comfort of the residents would reach a new high, and mean- while, the project would allow us to support biodiversity in the ever-denser urban environment. It was important to find an architect that would fit the spirit of the project. I also felt that it was absolutely essential that the project included a research angle, and that the developer shared my vision. The study of urban green was, after all, one important reason why the City of Helsinki agreed to allocate land for the project. The project team gained an important asset when Docent Susanna The first steps of the Greenest of the Green apartment building project 8