The library is no longer simply a repository for books and a place for reading, it has become a place for knowledge exchange, for communities to gather and for ideas and experiences to be shared. If libraries were like sedimentary rocks, where layers of knowledge accumulated over time, libraries of the 21st century are like igneous rock in which different mediums of knowledge and learning are fused into a granular heterogeneous whole.
This fact is evident in the competition programme. Of the 10,000 net sqm, only 25% is dedicated to book storage and reading. Helsinki’s library for the 21st century has expanded to include places for performances, meeting, production and learning. This library is a hub of knowledge, where different people, communities and constituencies can come together. It is fundamental that the architecture of this library be expressive of this theme of “many” coming together to create a new, dynamic whole.
A three-dimensional dodecahedron aggregates allowing formal variation and standardization of its structural and cladding elements. The unit is aggregated to define three volumes - collections, events, and “learning and doing” - that are linked by a continuous lobby space. Height limitations give the project’s faces contrasting characters. To the east it is tall and smooth. The west face steps and corrugates to and address the landscape.
Dodecahedron shaped atrium spaces create visual and physical links between the three main volumes of the building. They are conduits for the circulation of people, light and air.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Helsinki, FI
My Role: Architect
Additional Credits: In collaboration with OKB Architecture