The Heart of the Metropolis — Helsinki Central Library Open International Architectural Competition

The Heart of the Metropolis – the City of Helsinki’s two-stage open international architectural competition for the design of the Helsinki Central Library has been resolved. The competition jury unanimously decided that the winning entry is “Käännös” by ALA Architects. Read more about the competition results.

See the instructions for competitors for fetching the competition entries.

The City of Helsinki arranged an open two-stage international architectural competition for the design of a Central Library. The competition looked for a contemporary library design. The aim is to create a vibrant and functionally versatile meeting place, as well as an energy-efficient and architecturally significant building.

The Central Library will be located in the very centre of Helsinki, the Töölönlahti [“Töölö Bay”] area, on city block no. 2014 , a site significant in terms of both the cityscape and symbolically (Bing-map service, extract from the base map, urban fabric illustration). It will be part of a cohesive totality of public buildings together with the Finnish Parliament building, Helsinki Music Centre, Finlandia Hall, Sanoma House and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Central Library will be a combination of personal cultivation, culture and entertainment. It will be a vibrant and functionally versatile meeting place, a house of literature in which the users are the focus. The new Central Library will be much more than a traditional library. It will be a dynamic entity comprised of the physical spaces, technology, library collections, staff, cooperation partners and clients.

The objective is a high-quality, eco-efficient and timeless building

The building will be an energy-efficient, nearly zero-energy building. In the choice of materials and structural solutions the aim is for material efficiency.

The building’s room programme area is 10,000 m2. Based on a project feasibility design, the estimated building costs for the project are 69,9 million € (0% VAT) [period 2/2010, Tender Price Index (THI) = 146,0]. The goal is for the building to be completed in 2017, and it will be a project marking the centenary of Finland’s independence.

The competition looked for a design solution for the Central Library building that:

− responds to the challenges set by the cityscape-wise unique location, and adjusts to the urban fabric and blocks of the Töölönlahti area.

− is high quality and timeless architecture.

− forms a symbolic and architecturally significant building that resonates with society as a whole and expresses the operational concepts of the building in an intriguing way.

− offers a functionally high-quality and technically and spatially flexible framework for cutting-edge and adaptable library operations.

− is eco-efficient.

− is technically and economically feasible.

The purpose of the competition is to act as a selection procedure in the procurement of a designer for the building (architectural design and expert in energy technology).

The competition is a part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme.

Link to the SIMAP-notice

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