Helsinki Central Library Competition Entry / OODA

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The proposal for the Helsinki Central Library by OODA tries to merge the most efficient program articulation with a strong concept which intends to suggest the overall theme integrated with Helsinki’s context. Their building acts as a shifting point between the two demarked city urban networks – ancient and modern – merging both, creating a public path that connects to the park while it simultaneously generates the formal composition. The new central library will be much more than a traditional library. It will be a dynamic entity, fully equipped, comprised of the physical spaces themselves as well as technology, library collections, staff, tourists in an all-age designed forefront building. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of OODA

This competition intent was to establish a proposal for a Central Library to Helsinki that aims to incorporate a combination of personal cultivation, culture enhancement and entertainment. The library has been transformed from a space to read into a social center with multiple responsibilities. Consequently it needs to be thought as a functionally versatile meeting place, a store of education in which the users are the focus and the building itself the symbol of attraction and connectivity. Therefore, we believe that in the process of generating architecture we cannot succeed without imagination because that is the most efficient tool or possibility to generate scenarios, predict spaces and reinvent ambiances.

Courtesy of OODA

The overall intention is to generate a vibrant cultural cluster as an inclusive response to the unique site location and consequently adjust it to the urban fabric block of Toolonlahti. It should assume its place in the city as an urban reference so its formal composition translates the creation of topography while it articulates two different peeks linked with an organic and seamless surface that not only exemplifies the primary division of the program but also creates the sense of space continuity and public life activation. This display is enhanced by the clear difference between the texture and identity of the roof surface comparing to the transparency and dynamism of the facade composition.

Courtesy of OODA

We developed tree semi public spaces (voids) that intent to create a transition space between the external public space and the Library interiors. In this way we were able to approximate the city to the building in a different level that could valorize the interface between the both identities merging them. A library that forms a significant and high quality building that relates with society as a whole and expresses, in the meanwhile, the operational concepts of the building in an intriguing manner. In a timeless architecture presence with social adjustment.

Courtesy of OODA

One of the main problems of traditional library organization is flatness and individual organization. Having this in mind our drive was to redefine the library as an institution no longer exclusively dedicated to the book, but as an information place where all vibrant forms of media (new and old) are presented equally and aside. In this new era where information can be accessed anywhere, it is the simultaneity of all media and the organization of their contents that make the library vital and dynamic.

Courtesy of OODA

So we tried to create a multi-level space experience having the entire required program connected through a central area that simultaneously receives and guides the public to interact with the building while it functions as an integrated rotation point between the two emerging volumes and its programmatic settlement.

Courtesy of OODA

As a representation of a knowledge building, the library has to be an example in all matters. In this way it was profoundly developed in a bio efficient way, designing a strategy to reduce its carbon footprint in the building construction and its life time.

Architects: OODA
Location: Helsinki,
Team: Diogo Brito, Rodrigo Vilas-Boas, Francisco Lencastre, Duarte Fontes, Tiago Sa, Vania Coelho, Jose Mendanha, Jose Pedro Valente, Luisa Coelho
Collaboration: GEG, RGA
Client: City of Helsinki
Size: 10,100 total sqm
Type: Competition
Year: 2012

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Helsinki Central Library Competition Entry / OODA" 02 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Apr 2015. <>
  • haircut

    Really solid presentation of this project, I really appreciate the diagrams and details. You should ask for at least this much documentation from every competition entry you post.

  • Robb

    Blatant rip-off of JDS project.