Helsinki Central Library Competition Entry / Djuric Tardio Architectes

Courtesy of

Djuric Tardio Architectes shared with us their concept,’The Storytelling Tree’, for the Central Library competition. The starting point for their design begins with the book, a never ending memory, which can tell us stories and tales from here and elsewhere, like a hundred-year-old tree. As the roots of the tree are anchored firmly to the ground, the culture is firmly anchored to books, made with paper obtained from the tree itself. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Djuric Tardio Architectes

A modern library, as a elementary and great emblem of the Finnish essence, culture and know-how, and result of the most accomplished wooden construction technology. These are the aims that give birth to a unique building, voluntarily unaccustomed to the Finnish landscape, in order to lead the user to a trip somewhere else, in the reading time of an exotic novel. A return to books and to knowledge source, to ensure its continuous existence and its memory, thanks to this contemporary library, also equipped with all the new electronic media and devices.

Courtesy of Djuric Tardio Architectes

In our journey of cultural discovery, we deeply rush into these roots and gradually go up through the knowledge they contain and protect, until the luxuriant evergreen crown. Finally we can have a stop there, in order to meditate, discover and read the books we would have encountered and brought. A wood curved by man hands and harvested in these regularly replanted forests. A main and leading concern: the use of resources and local know-how for a fabric coming from sustainable development principles, before being ecological.

Courtesy of Djuric Tardio Architectes

The organization of this wooden organism is simple but dynamic, it consists of 3 different areas: the lobby and the multi-purpose program, the library, and the cinema and exhibition space. A straight urban façade on the street side balances a more opened and articulated façade on the park side, protected by giant vertical and adjustable pergolas on the south.

Courtesy of Djuric Tardio Architectes

The heart of the project, the library, is conceived as a spiral, a double concentric ramp around a real tower of books, also called ‘Tower of Knowledge’ where original books will be available for traditional reading, in addition to the on-line digital version.

Courtesy of Djuric Tardio Architectes

All the accesses to the library services are clearly visible at first sight, starting from the great, crossable and transparent height for the entrance, placed in the centre of the building. The reception, the bar, the self-service, the access to the book shelves, to the Children’s world and to the multi-functional room, the path to the cinema and to the bookshop, restaurants and their outside terraces are organized as a unique and wide common space.

Courtesy of Djuric Tardio Architectes

In this way, the new Helsinki Central Library becomes a space for the city and its citizens, that can welcome events and performances, especially in the most southern part of the building where the cinema and the permanent and temporary exhibition area will be installed.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Helsinki Central Library Competition Entry / Djuric Tardio Architectes" 01 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • a.e.

    Looks like someone found the softglow filter.
    When’s Adobe taking that off the list?

    • Mike P

      Yes. It is easy to make a joke of this. Too much filter, but the project is overdesigned. I have a strange feeling that this architecture goes nowhere.

  • Heywood Floyd

    Looks like they also found Renzo Piano’s cultural center in New Caledonia.

    • Alan

      I have been to the Centre Tjibaou and I can tell you it does not have any close similarity to this building. That is quite a superficial comparison…

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