HCL main

The task was to create a vibrant and functionally versatile meeting place, as well as an energy-efficient and architecturally significant building. The Central Library will be located in the very centre of Helsinki, the Töölönlahti [Töölö Bay] area, a site significant in terms of both the cityscape and symbolically. The design fuses contemporary formal sensibility with the intense, haptic materiality of wood - seeking a human-friendly and sustainable expression fitting a library of and for the 21st century. The majority of the library program is situated on continuous horizontal surfaces, which can be flexibly adapted for various changes and events by changing furniture arrangements. The life of the library becomes simultaneously very visible. The urban space between the library and Parliament House become activated by additional landscape elements connecting visually and spatially these two institutions of democracy. This in-between field ends with a place for an information surface on the facade of the library. The entire roof of the wooden core is an open library space, lounge and restaurant terrace with views over the surrounding cityscape. People on this platform are also very visible from Mannereheimintie direction, emphasizing the social character of the building. New design methodologies / the scheme was based on experimental thinking about building typologies: a spiralling building with complex geometries and without corridors or other non-programmable spaces. Technically the design was a product of using Maya animation software and Rhinoceros modelling combined with conventional AutoCAD, rendering and Photoshop.


City of Helsinki

Role & scope

Open international competion, entry copyrighted author; schematic design and building design



Team & Collaborators

helsinkizurich in collaboration with Sotamaa design and Jani Isoranta Zebracolor

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