The Guggenheim is planning a new museum in Helsinki. The site is in the heart of the city, next door to the late 19th Century market hall and open-air market place, two minutes from Helsinki Cathedral. The project, therefore, has great landmark potential for the city. And many Finns are lured by this very potential, wanting to increase tourism and put their capital city more evidently on the world map. There has also been discussion in the country’s main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about how Finns should welcome a more joyous and fun architecture.
Destination-creation and architecture as entertainment are certainly strong themes of our times. They were treated with great artistry by Frank Gehry with the Bilbao Guggenheim, opened in 1997. However, it’s important to remember that the Bilbao Guggenheim might best be considered a spectacular one-off. Mayors, politicians and world leaders have since sought, in perhaps too facile a way, to rebrand their cities and countries with iconic landmarks. There has been much talk of making cities “world class” through such architectural gestures, and yet much of this marketer’s fodder is wholly out of touch with what makes great architecture great.
MenoMenoPiu Architects & Paolo Venturella just released their entry for the Alvar Aalto University Otaniemi Campus Competition in Helsinki. Their proposal focuses on the creation of an energy-efficient learning environment that rethinks the traditional courtyard typology. It uses different levels and heights to create a variety of public and private spaces open to both students and inhabitants of the city, all while framing the main Alvar Aalto building.
The architects’ description after the break.
ALA Architects have just won the design competition for the new Helsinki Central Library with their entry “Käännös”. Located in the heart of Helsinki, the 16,000 square meter library building will consist almost entirely of public spaces and will offer a wide selection of services. It will serve as the new central point for the city’s impressive public library network and is slated to open in 2018. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Museum of Finnish Architecture’s summer exhibition, ‘Light Houses.Young Nordic Architecture‘ is a two-part showing of contemporary work by young Nordic architects taking place now until September 22. Thirty-two architects from Finland, Sweden and Norway – all born after 1962, the year the pavilion was designed – were invited to design a sculptural piece that both complements the modernist vocabulary of Fehn’s pavilion and encapsulates their office’s philosophy of architecture in a 3D form of pre-specified dimensions. More information on the exhibition after the break.
The ‘Sophia Library’ concept proposal for the Helsinki 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.
Luca Peralta Studio shared with us their design concept for the Helsinki Central Library competition. Their ‘three cubes on a leaf’ concept is designed with the intent of creating an animated light in the distance. As a result, their project becomes an urban lantern that attracts and guides you on your journey in the direction of the city center. This light emanates from geometric objects, with a modern and minimal design, gently suspended on the landscape. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In terms of both the cityscape and its symbolic significance, the proposal by WEAVA Architects + SWAN Architectes for the Helsinki Central Library will represent a modern and dynamic image of an urban public facility for the citizens of the city. Their ONYX concept forms seamlessly into the planned draft proposal of the Töölönlahti area, responding to the surrounding buildings, infrastructure and urban fabric. It is an iconic cultural landmark in its own right, but also respectful of its place as part of a greater master plan. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Through their concept of turning a traditional library inside out, Tanni Lam, Johnny Chiu, and Adrian Lo started with a simple architectural question: Why can’t we turn this inside out, have the users surround the books, thus huge openings, views, ventilation, visual dialogue, can be exchanged between inside and outside? All great libraries in the world have the books surrounding them, covering the space, but this design is a living library, a library that opens up new vistas for us, adding depth to our perception. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Helsinki, a city committed to finding the evolving nature of culture in an ever changing society, is the inspiration behind STL Architects’ proposal for the new Library. If a library is a container of culture with the mission of making knowledge available to the people, then Helsinki is one of the greatest libraries in the world. The new Helsinki Central Library is conceived as a reflection of its city, acting as a filter of cultural activity, and honoring the lifeblood of the Heart of Helsinki: its people. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In the virtualized information era, Plan 01 believes the design for the Helsinki Central Library should be more than ever a “physical space”. The project should be a place for sensory experience, a place where culture becomes an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas, a place where the civil forum is recovered from the virtual and returned to the urban world. Their concept becomes a symbol in stone and wood that opens its heart to the city and offers visitors a retreat for body and mind. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Helsinki Central Library, designed by FIRM a.d. and OKB Architecture, is a hub of knowledge, where different people, communities and constituencies can come together. With their concept of ‘Geologies of Information’, their design expresses how if libraries were like sedimentary rocks, where layers of knowledge accumulated over time, libraries of the 21st century are like igneous rock in which different mediums of knowledge and learning are fused into a granular heterogeneous whole. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Aiming to provide a meeting place for information, knowledge, skills, and stories, the proposal by Marc Anton Dahmen | Studio DMTW for the Helsinki Central Library competition reflects the creativity, innovation and interaction for the people of Helsinki. Resulting in the sculptural massing of the building, their design derives from the creation of an vertical circulation element, connecting the building by transiting from one function to another throughout the entire collection area. More images and architects’ description after the break.
PRAUD shared with us their concept proposal, titled ‘The Heart of the Metropolis’ for the Helsinki Central Library competition. With the intent for a building that serves a larger civic function by creating a space for congregation at an urban scale, their library design aims at becoming a ‘Living Room’ for the city. The result is a true metropolitan building that not only creates a dialogue with the city, but one within the architectural language, making it timeless and essential for Helsinki. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Opening at 6:00pm tomorrow at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, UNBUILT HELSINKI is an exhibition about the Unbuilt City and its inhabitants as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 program. Drawn from the museum’s archive and beyond, unrealized projects in Helsinki are studied by a team of researchers who generate new relationships with local resources in order to translate the projects into architectural models. Their findings and the narratives behind the buildings are displayed in an exhibition at the museum. The event is curated by Åbäke and Nene Tsuboi and will be up until February 24. For more information, please visit here.
In contrast to the other buildings in the Töölönlahti District of Helsinki, an essential component of the design by PAR and Arup for the Central Library involved creating a public space at the top of the library—visually connecting Töölönlahti to Senate Square and the city at large. The library is organized by six intersecting axes that afford spectacular vistas while creating a variety of spatial configurations for the library’s program. With it’s six floor levels each pointing toward a celebrated landmark, the Central Library becomes a symbolic center for city. More images and architects’ description after the break.