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Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

The open international two-stage architectural competition for Helsinki Central Library was launched in 2012, and 544 entries were submitted from all over the world. The six entries selected for the second phase of the competition were announced in November 2012 and now the winner is finally announced – Helsinki-based architectural practice ALA Architect won the first prize. The Central Library is slated to open in 2018 and it will be a center piece of Helsinki’s public library network.

The winning entry’s primary concept was the strict division of library functions into three distinctive levels – an active ground floor, calmer upper floor and enclosed volume, located in the middle, containing functions requiring more specific space. Due to this concept – the dynamic interplay between the building’s three individual floors, the arching form has been developed, directing the visitors to utilize the spaces underneath, inside and on top of it. As a result, the building will be highly functional, significant and motivating addition to Helsinki’s urban life.

The public gathering space, the plaza, in front of the building continues inside, merging with other meeting and experience features. The ground floor is designed as a robust, frequently changing space as the quick visits, temporary exhibitions and walk-throughs require. It is zero-threshold, visible, attractive and welcoming to all visitors of the Library.

The top floor provides the classic, serene library atmosphere as it offers calm and contemplative area, floating above the busy city of Helsinki. The true character of this urban attraction is therefore created in contrast of two opposite spaces, perfectly complementing each other. The wooden volume is stretched vertically and is creating connections to the open main floors below and above.

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

Helsinki Central Library, ALA Architect, Helsinki, Finland, architectural competition, first prize, wooden façade, urban attraction, public facilities

 

 

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