Location: Helsinki

Type: nature trail, recreation, nature reserve

Status: completed

Client: City of Helsinki

Year: 2016-2018

Design: landscape architecture Nomaji maisema-arkkitehdit Ltd, architecture Studio Puisto Arkkitehdit Ltd

Tilaaja: Helsingin kaupunki

In 2016, the city of Helsinki started an EU funded project to improve the accessibility of urban nature and to promote nature areas as the city’s attraction. The existing Lammassaari boardwalk was popular but dilapidated. As a part of this project it was chosen to be replaced with a new, fully accessible boardwalk with accessible bird watching platforms. 

Changing sea level, ice, poor soil conditions for foundations and restrictions in working on the protected site were challenges for both design and construction. In this framework, the new, accessible and floating boardwalk was designed in dialogue with the city’s own construction unit. The design consists of two different types of boardwalk elements, a straight one and a curved one. The elements were prefabricated on dry land and brought to the site for installation with light vehicles.  

The boardwalk and the platforms are made of untreated Siberian larch. The pathway is 1500 mm wide enabling assisted walking and passing of wheelchairs or prams. The complete length of the boardwalk is 860 metres. The basic level is very close to sea level meanwhile the surrounding high reeds line the pathway forming a narrow, corridor-like space. Along the boardwalk there are two slightly elevated platforms for birdwatching, to have a view over the reeds. The finale of the pathway is an accessible vantage point elevated three metres. Viewpoints are provided with glass walls, to enable unimpeded views from a wheelchair and for children. 

The structures were completed in spring 2018. After the renewal of the boardwalk, the visits have increased remarkably. During the summer season 2018 there was an average of over a thousand visitors per day. The project fulfilled its objectives both in eased accessibility and in increased attractiveness.