New Central Library of Helsinki, Finland
The building as a city
CLIENT: City of Helsinki
Our design proposal for the new Central Library of Helsinki is primarily focused on how people can gather, socialize, learn & read and enjoy culture or just relax, in a single building.
The nature of the building is thus developed along a set of key-concepts:
- The Building as a City, the City-Room: The public space city enters and goes through the building, creating a series of voids that become the big open spaces within the volume; creating open but covered public places, in-between an atrium and a square; a new extension of the public realm of Helsinki: the City-Room.
- Open space defining routing and circulation: The two main atriums in the building are the nodes where knowledge, skills and stories are encountering. From the wide internal views that are framing the city, one perceives also all the other spaces within the building.
- Transparency: The building provides the possibility to completely see-through from the outside, but also from the inside.
- Incrementally evolving space: The building incorporates various spatial sequences. The first and most important sequence is the evolution of public space into private space – meaning private space as an individual and personal experience. This gradually evolving spatial sequence is also a change in the level of noise: from a public atrium to the silence of the library spaces and reading rooms.
- Structure, form and flexible space: The structure, the geometry of the building, the shape of the internal space are totally coincident and created within a unique principle. Moreover in order to create a building that can facilitate both the variety in functional constraints and a rich sequence in the spatial experience, all have to achieve a synergy that can provide the flexibility that is needed. Therefore the main structure has been placed in the facade, supported by inner structural cores that also provide the necessary spaces for installation and vertical transport. This allows the floors to remain uninterrupted by the presence of columns and the various functions to open to each other's presence within the building.