COBE . Happold

new Central Library . Helsinki

COBE . Buro Happold Denmark

The new city library in Helsinki establishes a new type of library, which is explicitly dedicated to the public.

We propose an entire “Library City” (Kirjastokaupunki). It is a public space of informal social encounters and gatherings, in which people from all backgrounds feel welcome as if it was an extension of their own living room.
A city thrives on its rich intermingling of spaces - places to work, dwell, learn and play – all within close reach. The library city that we envision is inspired by that urban convenience and diversity as it incorporates venues of different thematic characters and qualities within a single building. Therefore, it turns the ‘city library’ building into an actual ‘library city’.
By deconstructing a single building into smaller entities, each of them obtains a human scale and the library becomes a continuation of the city space of Helsinki. The building is organized according to a city structure, with its defined boxes as buildings and its interstitial spaces as public space. The Library City stands out clearly in the urban context - as part of the “pearl necklace” of cultural hubs surrounding Finlandia Park.
With its several entrances, the library acts as a porous filter that addresses and connects the flow of people coming from all corners of Helsinki, creating an active city edge towards the park.The new Library City becomes more than just a building. It becomes a contemporary indoor urban public space expanding the city fabric and the interwined public spaces of diverse functions, characters, and uses are all organized and united by the library collection itself.

Helsinki Central Library Location: Helsinki, Finland Client: Helsinki Municipality Program: Library Size: 10.000 m2 Status: Competition in 2012 Collaborators: Buro Happold Denmark

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