tuula närhinen


The Kluuvi district in the centre of Helsinki was originally a bay of the sea. The lowest part of the Kluuvi bay had to be filled for the needs of the growing city centre. This huge landfill project took several decades to be accomplished. The middle part of the Aleksanterinkatu Street runs through the bay area. Still in the 1860's flood and mud occasionally cut the street so that people had to take a detour by the neighboring Esplanade Street in order to keep their feet dry.
The maritime past of Aleksanterinkatu Street is now preserved in the work of art. The stone pavement on Aleksanterinkatu Street has an inlaid 8.5 cm wide copper band with Latin names of shoreline animals and plants engraved on it. The band runs along the early 19th century shoreline of the Kluuvilahti bay.The work of art was a result of an idea competition for an environmental work organized by the Helsinki City Art Museum and the Helsinki City Public Works Department. During the renovation of the street, a heating system was installed that keeps the sidewalk free of snow and dry also in the winter. Nowadays the pedestrians will never get their feet wet but the memory of the troublesome bay still lives under their footsteps.

See more images of the project:

  • Details and list of species
  • Historical images
  • A view from the eastern end of the Aleksanterinkatu artwork
    A view from the western end of the Aleksanterinkatu artwork