1st Prize 149 Käännös
The proposal has evolved excellently from Stage 1 and the overall concept is increasingly clearer. The building is confidently connected with its surroundings, while at the same time standing out and taking its place as an important public building. The building is inviting, easy to approach and identity with.
The massing of the building stems excellently from the functions and spaces, fitting them into the context. The exterior wall, which is recessed on the ground level, together with the terrace above it, uniquely and impressively marks the entrance. The public square, which is created beneath the terrace and in front of the main entrance, is successfully linked to the lobby spaces; the events in the exterior spaces become part of the library.
The entrances have been well placed, and it is easy to arrive at the building from all approach directions. The lobby arrangements enable the placement of the library functions immediately in the vicinity of the entrances. In some parts, the lobby is slightly narrow. Placing the multi-purpose hall in connection with the lobby is a successful solution. The adaptability of the totality is excellent.
One of the strengths of the proposal is the rather different moods on the three floors of the building. The ground-floor level is strikingly impressive and attractive. access from the ground-floor level to the upper floors creates a distinct, yet at the same time surprising, spatial sequence. The impressive main stairs, which connects the main floors, is a memorable element that strengthens the identity of the building. Inter-crossing views between the floors open up through the stairwell openings and the narrow lightwells on the top floor. In places the views could even be more extensive.
The first floor has an intensive and intriguing atmosphere. The floor has a workshop-like character and offers an inspiring centre for diverse functions, which conveys ‘doing things’ and ‘activity’. The functions are present in an informal way and are both easily approachable and easy to use. The ceiling height of the floor is slightly too low.
The top floor is beautiful, light-filled and pleasant. Exciting views open up from the spaces into the surrounding scenery. The free forms of the ceiling articulate the space pleasantly. The rising floor surfaces at the gable ends reinforce the spatiality and successfully frame the views of the base level towards the adjacent buildings. Spaces that require silence are naturally placed on the base level, which continues beneath the inclined surfaces.
An extensive terraced area, called “citizens’ balcony”, is linked with the top floor. It adds, from many different viewpoints, a symbolic gesture to the form of the building and beckons the library users to take time to relax.
The proposed building frame system is interesting. No pillars have been shown in the entrance lobby, but rather the upper floors are supported by an enormous steel girder structure. The idea of a large pillarless space is intriguing but cost-wise and technically very challenging. In terms of the choice of materials, the proposal is very stylish. The wood façade supports well the architectonic totality and strengthens the identity of the building. The façade solution is technically challenging but feasible.
The air-conditioning machine rooms have been placed both in the basement floor and in connection with the massive support structures on the first floor, which – despite their somewhat unfavourable location – support the overall concept of the building by skilfully hiding the technology within the bearing structure. The solutions for air-conditioning, sun protection and the utilisation of daylight are skilfully executed. The achieved energy efficiency is among the best of the proposals.
The space reservation for the City Centre Tunnel has been taken into consideration. On both sides of the tunnel are exit route stairs. The reservation for the ventilation shaft is placed on the lowest floor, north of the tunnel.
The proposal is average in terms of its volume and as regards the floor area the programme area falls slightly short.
The architecture of the proposal is of a very high quality, executed with relaxed broad strokes and memorable. The proposal provides excellent premises for the development of a completely new functional concept for the library. The building has a unique appeal and the prerequisites to become the new symbolic building which Helsinki residents, library users, as well as the staff will readily adopt as their own.