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Central Library

Helsinki, FI

The new Helsinki Library is a design that reinterprets the classical library. The new library is represented as a meeting point of urban life, a place to exchange knowledge and a physical interface for traditional and new media. The flexible spatial concept allows for various workspaces and event formats, providing the framework for this extensive challenge. A spacious lobby with a café and bookshop dominates a large section of the ground floor. The two upper floors hold the collection of books as well as digital workspaces and learning facilities. The partially glazed roof landscape is based on a modification of the classical shed roof. Its expansive scale not only forms the character of the building, but also leads through its diagonal structure to a realignment of the building along the urban axis.

The transfer of the solid roof surfaces allows daylight to penetrate deep into the building complex, creating varied spatial and lighting conditions for open or intimate workspaces. The transparency of the west-facing glass façade corresponds with the functions of individual rooms. For instance, quiet library spaces for concentration are shielded from external events by an opaque industrial glazing.  Whereas the glass façade over the ground floor entrance is clear and bright as it functions as a space for communication and allows visitors an optimal view of the neighbouring buildings and the city of Helsinki.

ARUP
City of Helsinki
14 000 m²
Competition
2012