Ruoholahti (Swedish: Gräsviken) is a quarter in Helsinki, part of the Länsisatama neighbourhood and Kampinmalmi district. The name means Grass Bay and is pronounced [ˈruoholɑhti]. Ruoholahti is located in the southwestern part of the central city area of Helsinki, close to the Lauttasaari island, and it functions as the principal connection between the Helsinki city centre and the city of Espoo to the west. As of 2005[update] Ruoholahti is inhabited by approx. 3300 people. The Länsisatama port is also situated in Ruoholahti.
The Ruoholahti area was created in the 1910s by connecting several small islands with earth fill. Its purpose was to accommodate the above mentioned port. In the 1940s there also developed a small industrial district whose most notable buildings were the cable factory of Nokia (which later became a cultural centre when Nokia gave up cable manufacturing and moved on to telecommunications), the headquarters of the Finnish government-owned alcohol enterprise Alko (transformed in 2002 into the Ruoholahti shopping centre), and the legendary Lepakko or Lepakkoluola (Bat cave), an old warehouse building used in 1967-1979 as emergency accommodation for homeless alcoholics and then, from 1979 to 1999 as an independent centre of youth culture from 1979 to 1999 (it was demolished to make way for an office building). In the 1960s the Länsiväylä highway was built through Ruoholahti to connect Helsinki to southern Espoo.
A planning competition for the future of the area had been held in the middle 1980s. The area started changing significantly in 1991 when the construction of a new residential and office area began. The most striking of the office buildings was the High Tech Centre (HTC), designed by architect Kai Wartiainen and completed in 2001. The Helsinki Metro was extended to Ruoholahti in 1993. A short canal was built through the area to reinforce the image of a maritime district. Nokia returned to the area in 1999, when a new research centre was opened, designed by architect Tuomo Siitonen.
In future years, the area is planned to continue expanding when the coal stockpiles adjacent to the Salmisaari coal plant are moved to underground storage, leaving more space for urban construction. Also the moving of the Länsisatama shipping container port to Vuosaari gives the opportunity to build more housing and office buildings.
- http://www.hel2.fi/tietokeskus/helsinki_alueittain_2005/103Kampinmalmi.pdf Information about Kampinmalmi and its subareas(Finnish)
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