About

Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2014 finalist

Kaisa House represents state-of-the-art, award-winning library architecture.

Anttinen Oiva Architects won the architectural competition held in 2008. The jury regarded their entry “Avaus” [opening] as both bold and personal and engaged in the cityscape. The brick façade chequered with small square shaped windows is successfully aligned with sculptural arched “openings”. With its façade the building adapts to its surroundings and yet stands out.

The starting point and also the main objective for the building’s architectural design was spatial flexibility. The spatial design is based on a series of openings in the intermediate floors. Three distinct apertures and the main staircase form a sequence of spaces, which gives the interior a unique ambience as well as demarcates the functional zones and defines the façade architecture. The architectural concept of the façade directly reflects the functional solutions of the interior.

A department store and parking garage once stood where this imposing building now takes its place along the busy Kaisaniemenkatu street. The University of Helsinki Main Library was the most ambitious project of the Helsinki World Design Capital year 2012, shaping both the cityscape and services.

Extract from the Finnish Architecture Biennial Review 2014 jury report:

“Kaisa House is trendy, which in this case means a genuine interpretation of the zeitgeist rather than shallow allegiance to a passing fad or superficial trimmings. The architecture is novel, yet timeless. An impressive effect has been achieved with a few broad strokes, and along with the grand gestures there is an overriding sense of calm about the building. Kaisa House has been skilfully fitted into the challenging cityscape by harmonising it with the spirit of the existing buildings. In this case, to demolish the old building and replace it with a new one has been a wise decision.”

Kaisa House was presented at ‘Mind-Building’, Finland’s exhibition at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2018 under the chapter ‘Mind-Building’.

Location

Fabianinkatu 30, Helsinki
60.17141021, 24.94844826

Images

Kaisa House seen from Kaisaniemenkatu street., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Kaisa House seen from Kaisaniemenkatu street., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Fabianinkatu street side façade., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Fabianinkatu street side façade., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Main lobby., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Main lobby., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Main lobby., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Main lobby., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Main staircase., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Main staircase., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Collections and teamwork rooms., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Collections and teamwork rooms., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Study area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Study area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Reading area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Reading area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Reading area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Reading area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Mika Huisman)
Reading area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Reading area., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Situation in the urban structure., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Situation in the urban structure., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
2nd floor, main library floor., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
2nd floor, main library floor., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
4th floor., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
4th floor., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
Top floor., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Top floor., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
Cross section from Kaisaniemenkatu street to Fabianinkatu street., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Cross section from Kaisaniemenkatu street to Fabianinkatu street., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
Kaisaniemenkatu street elevation., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Kaisaniemenkatu street elevation., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
Fabianinkatu street elevation., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Fabianinkatu street elevation., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)
Section detail., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa
Section detail., Helsinki University Main Library Kaisa (© Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd)