3rd Prize 40 Liblab
A distinct, sculptural building, the massing of which is recognisable as a public building, opens up excellently through carefully considered glass surfaces towards the most important directions, namely the Kansalaistori square and Töölönlahti bay. The building takes its place in, and impressively complements, the urban space.
The relationship between the overall mass and the large glass surfaces was better in the Stage 1 proposal. The eaves height has been lowered even too much, and consequently the overall composition loses its strength. Removing one floor has considerably improved the building’s functionality, which now is good.
The perforations of the solid surfaces have in Stage 2 been less than expected. The contrast between the solid wall and large glass surfaces is too strong in the interiors. The appearance of the perforated wall has not been presented in an understandable way in the interior illustrations. The appearance of the street façade is more open due to the new window openings. The overall shape of the building divided opinion: the dark mass and the sharp corner on the Elielinaukio square side were also perceived as frightening and threatening.
The entrances to the building are situated around the middle of the plot. The access route to them from the direction of the Elielinaukio square is easy. The groundfloor spaces open up well into the surroundings. A covered outdoor space is created in the vicinity of the main entrance.
The entrance floor level has an airy and spacious feel. The required library functions, multipurpose hall, restaurant and café have been placed there. In the basement floor, the group comprised of the cinema, and TV and music facilities functions well. Placed as part of the joint lobby for these spaces is the library’s exhibition space and stage. The spaces complement naturally the other functions on the entrance floor.
The spatial organisation works well and the general public can, as was requested, get right up to the window walls. The shape of the openings between the floors and the relationship between them are somewhat ambiguous. The natural circulation between the floors in the Stage 1 proposal has become blurred. It has been replaced by a spiral staircase connecting the floors. The development of the interiors has remained incomplete and their character is not fully evident in the design.
On the third floor are staff workspaces, and next to them is a public sauna and terrace. The sauna is difficult for the general public to access. The saunarestaurant combination in Stage 1 worked better, and the roof level terraces, with their varied character, were more practical.
The service traffic and the loading spaces in the basement are well functioning. The transport routes for the library collections and the internal routes are good from the point of view of the staff. The spaces are flexible and can be easily monitored. The space reservation for the City Centre Tunnel is in order.
The compact massing and the solid façades have led to a good result in terms of energy efficiency. The sun shading solution is successful, but the utilisation of daylight could be more efficient. The air-conditioning system, including the machine rooms, has been successfully fitted into the building, and the proposed reliable solutions ensure good indoor climate conditions. The most considerable technical shortcoming is the development of the window wall, which is incomplete. The frame construction of the glass walls is not plausible and the wood constructions are clumsy. The floor areas are in accordance with the programme and the volume is reasonable.
This is a fine proposal, which, however, does not in all aspects fulfil the expectations set for it in Stage 1 of the competition. Due to the good overall cityscape solution, the building has development potential.