Architect
ALA Architects
Competition
2012
Completion
2018
Gross area
17000 m²
Themes
Helsinki built through competitions Mind-Building – Finnish Libraries at La Biennale di Venezia 2018 Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2019 Finnish Architecture. Biennial Review 2020
Category
Assembly buildings
Tags
competition glass library steel structural wood
Prizes
Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2019 finalist
Finnish Architecture. Biennial Review 2020
More

ALA Architects website

The architectural competition for the Helsinki Central Library, held in 2012–13, received 544 entries from around the world. The winning entry “Käännös” [swerve] was by ALA Architects.In terms of structural engineering, this sculptural library is one of the most demanding projects carried out in Finland. The whole building is supported by a huge steel arch structure often used in bridges, which enables large open spaces without bearing walls.The design grows from the dynamic between the site and the goals of the library program. The key concept is the interplay between the building’s three individual floors. The public plaza in front of the building continues inside, merging with a catalogue of meeting and experience features. The ground floor is a robust, busy and frequently updated space suitable for quick visits and walkthroughs. The active, zero-threshold public spaces are visible, attractive, understandable and welcoming to all visitors.The traditional, serene library atmosphere can be found on the top floor. This is a calm and contemplative area floating above the busy central Helsinki. It offers unobstructed, majestic views to the surrounding park and cityscape. These contrasting spaces that complement each other are created by an arching wooden volume. The spaces inside the volume are enclosed and more intimate. The wooden volume is stretched vertically to create connections to the open main floors below and above.The library opened to the public in December 2018. 

Location

Töölönlahdenkatu 3, Helsinki
60.1736446, 24.9392953

Images

Main façade , Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Main façade , Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Main entrance façade, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Main entrance façade, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Top floor library hall just before the opening, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Top floor library hall just before the opening, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Top floor library hall, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Top floor library hall, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Top floor library hall, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Top floor library hall, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Top floor children's library, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Top floor children's library, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Top floor balcony, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Top floor balcony, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© Tuomas Uusheimo)
Ground floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Ground floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© ALA Architects)
First floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
First floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© ALA Architects)
Second floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Second floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© ALA Architects)
Third floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Third floor, Helsinki Central Library Oodi (© ALA Architects)

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