Helsinki Central Library
April 2012, Helsinki, Finland
Since centuries the Library is represented by its impressive reading room. Think of the marvelous reading room of the British Museum Library in London or the captivating space of Boullée’s – unbuilt Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris or the extraordinary reading room in Asplund’s Library in Stockholm.
Today the City of Helsinki aims to build its Central Library with the solid aim to make it accessible to everyone and, above all, being a dynamic place for interaction with the strong believe that information should be available to everyone, and everyone could participate in the creation of it. The Central Library of Helsinki will not be only a container of knowledge but an active producer of it.
Looking again back to the traditional library wee see that the Reading Room – the most extraordinary space – is deprived from public life; it is cut from exterior contact. The room is isolated and hidden inside the building, limited to the few that wish to study there. We find these rooms fascinating, but we believe that a contemporary library should take the qualities of these spaces and one step further.
With a single gesture we aim to –literary – open up the heart of the traditional library, its extraordinary room to make it accessible to everyone. This new space will keep the captivating qualities of the old libraries, but will bring them closer to everybody. It aims to be an inviting place to enter, to stay. A real “living room” for the city; a heart of the Metropolis.
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Title: Welcome Home
Project name: Helsinki Central Library
Date: April 2012
Type: Open International Competition
Number of participants: 544
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Site: the Töölönlahti (‘Töölö Bay’) area, Centre of Helsinki
Programme: Contemporary library design
Surface: 16.300 m²
Client: The City of Helsinki
STAR Team: Beatriz Ramo, Oscar Gential, Beatriz González Lazo and Ahinitze Errasti