Helsinki Central Library Competition Entry / AND-RÉ

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The ‘Sophia Library’ concept proposal for the Central Library Competition represents the consolidation of cultural identity, democratic notion and humanistic concepts into a building. It is a clear and true space, giving place for important visions to come together. Designed by AND-RÉ, the project is not just a library, but a real space, a mental place that projects itself beyond its frontiers and limits, becoming an iconographic element of the society, its culture and humanity vision. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of AND-RÉ

The resulting system accomplishes not also the functional, organizational and technical objectives, but is also a realization of invisible / immaterial / subjective / metaphorical principles and humane representations. The result is much more than a library, even more than a building. It is itself a form of homage to knowledge and a representation of the narrative path to wisdom.

Courtesy of AND-RÉ

It is a new form of understanding and resolving the Library space, becoming a place of experiences, a place without borders, integrating concepts of social centrality, dedicated to arts, aiming for technology expansion, but also projected for the body and mind. Sophia is a space for culture, a social center and a place for the future. It is also an iconographic element representing Finland and embodying the full notion of democratic space.

Courtesy of AND-RÉ

It is a non-pretentious, no-show-off building, but still and without doubt, a majestic, grandiose and timeless building, representing a eulogy to wisdom in its various forms, as a metaphor about the rise to knowledge, being itself a path to the light, a path to enlightenment.

Courtesy of AND-RÉ

The proposal is a metaphor about a vertical promenade escalation in the tree trunk and branches of knowledge. It is a physical concretization of worlds inside worlds, like a magical place, a mystical cultural creation with suspended environments, with different spaces and experiences to encounter. In fact, it is a place of serendipity. It is a noble and sublime space for enlightenment and at the same time for positive hedonism.

Architects: AND-RÉ
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Team: Bruno André, Francisco Salgado Ré, Adalgisa de Castro Lopes, Catarina Fernandes, Fernando Ferreira, Francisco Costa, Sara João
Engineering and Sustainability: AFA CONSULT
Promoter: Helsinki Municipality
Area: 16,000 m2
Budget: 69,900,000 €
Date: 2012

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Helsinki Central Library Competition Entry / AND-RÉ" 05 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Tosh Kz

    What a waste of space it is internally, seriously.. this building is huuuuge.

  • t

    Books + a lot of sunlight + time = destruction

    Nice looking project, but a failed concept from the start