Helsinki Central Library


Competition proposal 2012

Helsinki, Finland

The library is characterized by two types of movement. The efficient movement aimed at finding the relevant information as fast as possible, and the calm movement that explores the building and its content like walking in a forest. Two atriums with two characters are formed in the southern respectively northern part of the building. In the entrance atrium all of the buildings functions are visible and accessible. An active space that is transparent and open to the outside. The main lobby addresses the surrounding city in different directions via four entrances. The second atrium is the center of the library collection spaces. This is a calmer space flooding with soft northern light. The first floor of the collections areas is a large flexible surface. The two upper are quieter, but vary in openness and intimacy. With possibilities for work and studies evenly distributed. Between the atriums a middle zone of elevators and service functions are accessible from both sides.

The building construction has a modular layout with thin steel columns that carry concrete slabs. On the slabs a raised floor with technical installations creates flexible layout possibilities. The facade is a thin double glazing that controls interior climate and energy consumption. In the outer insulation glass panel a thin laminated metal mesh reflects energy without compromising transparency from inside.