In their competition entry for Helsinki Central Library, Portuguese practice OODA aimed to transform the space for reading into a social hub with multiple responsibilities. The focus of the concept was to reexamine common library experience and incorporate a combination of personal and social cultivation, culture enhancement and entertainment. OODA is proposing attractive yet bold design – impressive building which acts as a gathering place and important cultural cluster.
This progressive library design was aiming to overcome issues of traditional concepts – individual organization and lack of complementing contents by redefining the image, proposing the dynamic space of cultural activation, information and place where all media forms are equally presented. Flexibility of vertically connected programs creates the impression of continuity of space while encourages socializing and knowledge sharing atmosphere.
Three semi-public spaces generate smooth transitional zone between the city and Library interior. The intension was to adjust the new building to the existing urban fabric of Toolonlahti neighborhood. Being places of reference, libraries usually require outstanding and iconic design, which eventually could be in disharmony with the urban tissue it should be placed in. OODA chose less aggressive approach – Helsinki library is almost topography, articulating two different peeks connected with an organic and seamless continuous surface.
Finland’s long tradition of wood architecture is reflected in selection of materials for the ceiling surfaces – wood panels are chosen in order to provide warmer and more welcoming atmosphere of the Library.
Intriguing proposal for the Library was developed in bio efficient manner, significantly reducing carbon footprint of the building, both in its construction and its life time.