We noticed that the Töölönlahti area is a special place in Helsinki. We understand the importance of this “emptiness” in the heart of the city and we think it is equally or even more important than the unique buildings surrounding it.
From this void space flows to the north towards the lake and from it one can perceive all surrounding buildings.
Our wish is to keep the identity of this “emptiness”, pedestrian, cycling, green. That is why we design a building which is aware of its surroundings. It will be the last note of the Töölönlahti area chord, the final piece that will round and close Töölönlahti “void”. It will be adequately special, but not too special. This house wants to be an important new architectural place in Helsinki, but with respect for its surroundings.
The western facade of the Library building is more important than the others, not just because of its design, but because that side is facing the Parliament, the park, the lake. We “plug in” Library into the urban network of the city.
By building a house in the park, we also tend to bring the park into the house and in such a way the greenery and the Library can “work” together the whole year round, just like plants from the south live in northern botanical gardens during the winter. The Mediterranean character of the interior of the Library is not accidental. It is a conscious “infusion” of the small part of the Mediterranean Sea into the Baltic.
The structuralist order is used to form the terraces and intimate spaces that flow one into another. The building is vertically zoned with functional units distributed over the “hanging gardens”, over open terraces or closed “living rooms” depending on the need to be in the “room” or in the “street”. The gardens are connected by horizontal corridors / bridges, stairways, escalators and elevators. While designing a library in the park we concluded that bringing the park into the library is just as important.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Author: Radionica arhitekture / Maja Bencetić, Josipa Brdar, Fani Frković, Iva Pejić, Goran Rako, Josip Sabolić
Area: 16.500 m2