The project of the Central Library of Helsinki is located in the heart of Helsinki city, exactly in the Töölönlahti bay, near many important buildings like Finlandia Hall and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.
The library looks like the extreme extension of the park, located on the edge between land and water. In this way, the building becomes the connection and the hinge between city and nature.
An horizontal cut in the ground, allows to exploit the natural gradient of the area, going to insert the functions of the library in the space between the two planes.

The climate characteristics of the place, completely change the appearance of the bay depending on the seasons and the temperature.
During summer season the lake is suitable for use canoes, small boats and even for fishing. During winter season the bay becomes a big iced slab crossed on foot, suitable for walks and even sports such as ice skating or snowkiting.
The shingle of the library takes advantage of this characteristic bending towards the bay and allowing the approach to water in summer and down the path on the ice in winter.

The library is built on two floors. The main area of the books collection and the public areas (restaurant, bookshop, auditorium), are located on the ground floor, accessible from the park; the staff facilities, the quiet areas, the children ‘s world, the media area and the work room are on the basement floor.
The two floors of the building are linked by wells of books.
The collection area is an open space located towards the bay in contact with the water, thanks to a large window.
A long shelf with many workstation, continue inside the library the outside water level, thus giving a special and unique view of the bay.
The functional study of the library led to the desire to locate at the basement level some of the necessary functions to carry out daily activities of any library.


Elena Capodarca & Luca Caroti

Helsinki Central Library by Elena Capodarca in Finland won the WA Award Cycle 18. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

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