Building by the brook

The nature offers an important counterbalance to our built environment. The Hatsinanpuisto area  is being built along the Monikonpuro brook in harmony with the nature. Although the brook is realigned, its vitality and recreational values can be restored.

NCC is developing and building OOPS (Oasis of Professionals), an office property in Hatsinanpuisto, Leppävaara district of Espoo. The first office buildings will be completed in autumn 2021. Between the blocks runs the Monikonpuro brook which is one of the key attractions in the area.

Landscaping Architect Kristina Rocha from the City of Espoo knows that water is an important element to the residents. That’s why we need to preserve natural water bodies such as Monikonpuro. People have always settled beside water which has provided them with a passage route and a source of livelihood.

”Water gives the area an identity and livens up the scenery. The brook with its natural environment and rich biodiversity is a substantial part of the local ecosystem. People want to observe water life and will always find the place attractive,” Rocha says.

One does not simply pass the brook through a pipe

The channel of Monikonpuro brook was modified several times already during the agricultural era and ever since the development of the Leppävaara centre in Espoo started. The 7-kilometre Monikonpuro brook is known for its endangered sea trout population that steers construction in the area.

Brook channels can only be relocated under expert supervision, and related projects are always monitored carefully. The City of Espoo has been keeping a close eye on the Monikonpuro brook since before its surroundings started to build, and the monitoring work continues even after the completion of the building projects.

”The permits for relocation are issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency, and the works are scheduled according to the seasonal cycle of the brook. Natural values are respected in the construction, one does not simply pass the brook through a pipe. One must carefully pick the time for the works that could cause the water to become cloudy, which depends on the fish breeding season,” Rocha states.

Working with the experts

Project Director Pirkka Pikkarainen clarifies that NCC has planned the phased construction of OOPS and the brook environment to ensure that the development measures concerning Monikonpuro will not disturb the ecosystem, including the reproduction of valuable fish species in the brook

”Since the preliminary planning stage the project team is accompanied by a storm-water expert and an ecologist with whom we have solved various questions from co-ordinating external works with the brook preservation to the life cycle of the built environment,” Pikkarainen says.

The green Hatsinanpuisto area and the Monikonpuro brook bring a meaningful counterbalance to OOPS’ built environment. ”Maintaining a strong bond with the nature becomes all more important in higher-density urban environments. The living brook offers special recreational values to the people using the area.”

Building a new brook channel respecting the nature

Modifying an urban brook entails passing the stream through a new channel and preserving its natural conditions. At Hatsinanpuisto, the relocation started by driving steel sheet piles in the ground for carrying out the excavation works.

This is a difficult task which requires several phases to achieve. When the excavation works will have been completed, the water stream will be led to the new channel and the existing channel will be dammed. The new channel bed will be stabilised with lime columns and the surroundings will be landscaped to look as natural as possible.

”The channel must not be too flat, otherwise it could not contain enough water for the ecosystem to survive the dry season. The water flow rate is influenced by the changing amount of water depending on the season and weather conditions. The channel also needs a gravel bedding, stones and vegetation,” Rocha describes.”Monikonpuro is an important and unique part of the urban centre, a meaningful component of its natural environment. We want to revitalise the built scenery with the natural values and the recreational potential that the brook provides,” Kristina Rocha says.

An abundant and diverse aquatic ecosystem

Experience has shown that, despite the impact the development work has on brook life, the conditions will recover over time. This has been the case also with Monikonpuro, where trout was planted several times in the past ten years. The results have proved successful: the trout thrives in a sourcy brook water where the temperature remains low and the oxygen content high.

”Monikonpuro brook is the breeding waters for some endangered high-value fish climbing upstream from the Laajalahti bay. Even today, the brook has increasing populations of precious and naturally breeding fish populations,” Pikkarainen delights.

”Considering its size, Monikonpuro is an abundant and diverse brook. It is the habitat for many different fish species, including trout, perch, roach, dace, bleak, stickleback and ten-spine stickleback. Brook life naturally includes a diverse bird population. I’ve even heard that there are traces of muskrats,” Rocha adds.

What is Monikonpuro?

  • A brook that runs through Espoo via Äijänniitty, Leppävaara sports park, Leppävaara centre, Vermo, discharging in the Iso Huopalahti bay
  • About 7 km long
  • Channel width over 5 metres at the widest, narrowest point one metre
  • Catchment area approx. 18 sq. m
  • Average flow rate 0.1 cum. m./s, maximum flood rate at storm weather up to 6 cu. m./s
  • Fish species: trout, perch, roach, dace, bleak, stickleback and ten-spine stickleback

Read more about the project

Follow the construction work at site here.

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