Myyrmäki Sports Park is a versatile public sports and exercise centre in the city of Vantaa. The area is developed as a part of the transforming Myyrmäki region. Myyrmäki has been designed and built in the 1960s and it reflects the urban design ideals of the time. Now, the redevelopment seeks to balance the growing number of users, transport facilities and natural values of the site, as well as to strengthen the image of the area. Myyrmäki is on its way from a suburb to an urban centre. The redeveloped area is in a prime location at the heart of the bigger sports park area. It forms an event space in front of the Myyrmäki Hall. Covering an area of around 4.9 hectares, the area includes a mini football arena, a small multi-purpose arena, a full-size basketball court, climbing sculptures, a balance area, a fitness area, a trampoline area, and one of the largest skate parks in the Nordic countries. An important and popular cycling runs through the area and route connects city districts.

The design process put an emphasis on everyday use of the park. Young people and skateboarding enthusiasts from the area were involved in the design process. The aim of the design was to create a meeting place for different sports and user groups and to attract people to move around. The park found the potential of an existing site: The new design created an inviting and human scale space by reorganizing, and it added a lot of value and life to the park. The design has managed to balance the different scales and combine them seamlessly. The potential for everyday use of the area is increased while maintaining the conditions for the organization of major events. Playing and exercising extend beyond the designated sports area: the temporary parking lot structures, all the benches and drift barriers, have been designed to also be suitable for skating.

The park makes the joy and delight of movement visible: The overall appearance is designed to be cheerful, fresh, and green. The design has a recognizable look and feel, and its style is adapted to the buildings and the style of the surroundings. The focus is on providing a safe and accessible exercise area and improving the existing park in terms of functionality. Therefore, island-like areas with different sports facilities are placed between access routes. The park has since been praised for its versatile functions and how it accommodates users from different groups and sports.

Stormwater management has an essential role in the design. Surface water is directed to the trees and planting areas. Permeable materials are used at the parking spots to reduce the amount excess surface water. Groups and rows of trees were planted to structure an otherwise open space and to soften the building facades. Local species were favoured. Seasonal variations and autumnal colouring are considered in the planting choices.

Filled with many possibilities to move, the area has gained popularity. The park is about creating a welcoming environment: it inspires and invites people to move, regardless of age or ableness. After opening, residents discovered the new park as soon as the first construction phase was completed. Now the area is very popular, even crowded, and sometimes there are queues for the equipment. The popularity of the successful park has led to requests for similar designs elsewhere in the city and in the wider Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

The park received a nomination as one of the six finalists in the Environmental Structure of the Year 2021 awards in Finland. This is an important recognition which considers design, implementation, and maintenance where the jury consists of representatives from different parties involved in landscape industries in Finland including the Finnish Association of Architects, Ministry of the Environment, Finnish Association of Landscape Architects and Finnish Association of Landscape Industries.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: Janne Saario (skate park design)

Other collaborators: Lighting Design Collective Ltd (lighting design), LiCon-At Ltd (electrical engineering), Plan B Korjaussuunnittelupalvelut Ltd (structural engineering), Finnmap Infra Ltd (geo, infra and stormwater engineering), WSP Finland Ltd (transportation engineering)

Location: Raappavuorentie 10, Vantaa, Finland (60.262671, 24.839319)

Design year: 2017-2021

Year Completed: 2021

Photography: Pyry Kantonen Photography

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