Ambient Exchange: Helsinki Library

By:  | December - 3 - 2012

Libraries are increasingly the places in which culture is produced, collected and disseminated. The Ambient Exchange designed by Synthetiques & minus Architecture studio {MAS} promotes a culture of collaboration, creative inquiry and community engagement through provision of functional and exuberant spaces that engage the strong social and craft-oriented traditions of the Finnish built environment.

The Ambient Exchange engages a vital site, including the broader city, by placing its cultural and shared amenities at the level of the park and the street. The building is treated as an extension of the site topography, pulling people up into the spaces that encourage interaction and collaboration among the various users. Views of the Parliament and cultural amenities of the city drive the library’s formal, programmatic and functional organization.

The proposed structural system is predominantly cross-laminated timber panels. These panels are milled to express the materiality of wood while absorbing and translating varying patterns of weather systems. The result is a luminous and continuously changing interior environment that responds to both the activities of the users in the various collaborative spaces and the day-lighted quiet spaces for reading and study around the perimeter.

Ramped floors contain embedded platforms promote easy circulation for both the patrons and library materials. The open plan, accentuated by nodes for meeting, teaching, learning and interaction, reinforce the library as a space for collaboration and the development of new ideas. Visitors to the library will easily navigate the project, discovering the programs and opportunities provided by this most public of cultural institutions.

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