Helsinki Central Library,

Helsinki Central Library,

Architect
Jorge Hernandez de la Garza

Lorimer
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Project Year
2012
Category
Libraries
Stories By
Jorge Hernandez de la Garza

Lorimer

Helsinki Central Library, Valolaatikko

Jorge Hernandez de la Garza as Architects

Valolaatikko, which means Light Box, is the proposal an international competition for the design of a Central Library located in the center of Helsinki. The design is a functional result of the study and combination of culture, entertainment and technology so that it can be much more than a traditional library.


Its form adjust to the urban context of the Töölönlahti area allowing to have different views of the cityscape as well as creating a relation to the park and bay located close to the library thanks to its dynamic skin that covers most of the building. Also, the building promotes the pedestrian and cycle access from the plaza, park or the street.


The skin’s openings will be optimized to promote daylight to all habitable spaces and passive solar heating to communal circulation areas. A public project like this is the perfect opportunity to be a showcase for Sustainable Design. Innovative Strategies, should be evaluated and if implemented, have the potential to be a learning source for users and visitors.


The proposed library will meet the highest standards for sustainability by following an ‘Integrated Approach’ throughout the design process. The project will achieve a minimum rating of a recognized International Certification Scheme such as LEED ®, BREEAM International, Living Building Institute or equivalent.

Helsinki Central Library

Lorimer as Architects

The Heart of the Metropolis is a proposal for a new central library in the city of Helsinki. The building takes its inspiration from the city and nearby surroundings. It is a volume shooting out from the ground, like many other places in Helsinki rocks naturally appear as popping out in the city centre.


The building is interacting with people on a human scale, by making it possible for people to walk on top of the sloped roof. The sloped roof drags the surrounding park on top of the building, and connects the building with its surroundings. The building is pointed towards the surrounding parkland and the bay, which gives a great view from the inside and from the roof.


The building is equipped with double skin facades which are part of an advanced hybrid ventilation system, that will ensure a low energy performance and a good indoor climate. The double skin facade keeps the building as transparent as possible to have an open building with good light conditions and respecting its context. The sloped roof is facing south and has installed 500m2 of solar cells that will contribute to keep the energy performance as low as possible.


The concept for the floor plans is, instead of having a traditional atrium, to have an inverted atrium. This means that the floor plans will be offset from the facades. This creates the feeling of one big connected open space. The ground floor is offset from the facade as well and this adds a good spatial quality to the basement, because the light then will be dragged down into the basement as well as the other upper floor plans.


The project is a master thesis project by Sonny Holmberg and Luke Lorimer developed at the AD:MT at Aalborg University, Denmark.

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