Helsinki Central Library

Helsinki, Finland 2013 | unbuilt

Echoing Finnish building tradition through the use of local timber on the façade, this design for the new Helsinki Central Library emerges from Makasiinipuisto Park as an elegant landmark to attract visitors from all around the cultural district and beyond. The project rethinks the library’s reading hall as one homogenous space and instead proposes a non-linear space, where programmatic areas (book stacks, cinema, restaurant, saunas, lobbies, cafes etc.) overlap to create hybrid zones of activity including reading a book while having a coffee, taking part in a workshop while while seeing a film projected nearby, or browsing the internet from a sauna. The library is designed to encourage chance encounters. In addition, voids in the floor plates allow for visual connections across different levels and vertical circulation takes place within vertical cores. Finally, the project is environmentally sustainable. It uses local materials and a wide variety of environmental strategies including but not limited to a highly insulated building shell, maximizing natural day-lighting, integrated ventilation louvers in the folded facade, solar panels, and earth-ducts.

[Collaboration with Hume Coover Studio & Reed Finlay]