The new Helsinki central library features strong Nordic elements, and follows global trends

2017-12-24

When new libraries are designed, especially in large cities across the world it is remarkable how similar concepts are features in the design: large open spaces, areas where visitors can relax with or without books, cafes, music rooms, in other words a place that invites residents to be together. Finland’s capital Helsinki will get a new central library in December 2018, and the design features these contemporary concepts, but also strong Nordic flavors in its architecture.

Helsinki central library, Image by ALA architects
The new central library is being constructed in the heart of Helsinki, in a prestigious location next to the Parliament House, the central railway station, and other key buildings. A fairly large space in the city center was recently vacated from railway use (old maintenance and repair halls were moved away from the city center), and a number of modern buildings have been, or will be built into this space.

The new library is one of these modern buildings that will be closely inspected by all residents of Finland as well as by all travelers who visit the capital.

Here is a description of the library from the architects:

The key concept of the design is the interplay between the building’s three floors. The public plaza in front of the building continues inside, merging with the public spaces of the ground floor. This busy, constantly updated floor with a multipurpose hall, a restaurant and a movie theater, is suitable for quick visits and walkthroughs. The traditional serene library atmosphere can be found on the top floor—a calm area floating above the busy city center, offering unobstructed views to the surrounding cityscape.

The video below shows you around the virtual building (the real building will be ready in December 2018).

The architects who designed the Helsinki Library represent ALA, an architect firm based in Helsinki. ALA is run by its founders Grönholm, Nousjoki and Woolston, and employs 36 architects, interior designers, students and staff members, representing 12 nationalities.

If you are planning to visit Helsinki, take a look at a travel guide that shows you the best sights, neighborhoods, things to do, and events in the city.

Via The Journal of the American Institute of Architects.


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