DINKOFF Architects & Engineers share their entry to Helsinki Central Library Competition
BIBLIO-Centrum - from the Greek word for book and the Latin word for centre - has been designed as Helsinki’s new ‘book center’ or ‘book central’, a focal point for the most prominent facilities of the city: Parliament, the Helsinki Music Centre, the Finland Opera House, the Kiasma Museum, Sanoma House, and the central railway station. The proposed by DINKOFF Architects & Engineers, the 10,000 sq m BIBLIO-Centrum is a center of diverse cultural and intellectual activities, a congregating point for people with a thirst for knowledge.
Six competing teams have been shortlisted for the scheme with a winner to be revealed in June 2013. Click here to view more details.
The book, as a physical metaphor, is a path to a new unexplored world that is filled with unexpected challenges, and the architecture of BIBLIO-Centrum is meant to express that. The shape grammar of the construct manifests as ‘book’ that metamorphoses through pages that are parted, flipped, and finally torn, to obscure its origin and to lead the viewer to ‘detect’ its roots, to re-discover them and to re-explore them.
Aiding this re-evaluation is the impression of horizontal pages, lying one on another, intersected with the bits and bytes of digital media that appear at the elevations of the building. The horizontal stripes, exposed on the facades, evoke the feeling of running text that updates the viewer on current intellectual events, ultimately leading one to an expression of the transition from the classical physical ‘book’ to that of both a repository and a source of seminal information, regardless of medium.
The entrances to the building are on the east and west sides where an imaginary ‘binding’ allows the pages to be flipped north and south. The pedestrian drop off area is next to the entrances and the main elevator, and above the tunnel system beneath the building. The upper pages on the north side are ‘ripped’ along their lines of text from their edges to the binding, spilling apart to form a gap which reveals a garden that faces the bay and passing vessels.
The northeast side of the roof supports solar panels which generate electricity for the building, the intent being for self-sufficiency and no dependence on the city’s power grid. The northwest side of the roof structure extends to form a sinuous and gently undulating spiral which runs down to the bottom garage level and seemingly into the soil of Helsinki. It represents duality of space, providing recreation as a ski run in winter and a garden/jog path in summer, and always providing nurturance of Helsinki’s intellectual landscape.
The architectural vocabulary of BIBLIO-Centrum also extends out to Makasiinipuisto Park. The entire park is surrounded with a free standing metal structure with cables positioned randomly above it, giving the impression that they hold the site together in tight communication. They also suspend the overhead light fixtures that make pleasant evening views from the surrounding buildings. These cables are echoed on the ground as lawn dividers, giving an artistic touch to the landscape, and suggesting a connectedness and unity of the buildings surrounding the Park, and by implication, one that includes the rest of Helsinki.