New Delhi Embassy of Finland
- New Delhi
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.