Helsinki Central Library is an open two-stage international architectural competition that looks at contemporary library design; creating a vibrant and functionally versatile meeting place as well as an energy efficient and architecturally significant building. The extensive brief for the new Central Library includes the incorporation of a medium sized cinema, a multi-purpose hall, public cafe and an independently accessed restaurant and sauna.
ABA’s proposal responds directly to the existing and proposed neighbouring buildings as an exceptional collection of urban artefacts and develops an architecture based on the heritage of the Finnish Forest. The beauty of forest derives from a combination of four elements; the freely arranged columns of trees, canopies that filter light, clearings that provide relief and a view to the sky.
A structure of randomly spaced columns allow the interior of the building to be experienced like a forest with glades, clearings spreading branches and nests. Heroic slender columns support upper level Library floors that weave through the tree like structure. Openings in the platforms permit light to filter from rooftop lanterns to levels below.