The new 16,000m2 library building of Helsinki will consist almost entirely of public spaces and will serve as the new focal point for the city and Finland's impressive public library network.
The project has been selected as the winning entry out of 544 entries from all over the world. Arup is responsible for a full range of engineering services including energy efficiency, sustainability, structural engineering, building services, facade engineering and fire safety to arrive at a totally integrated, sustainably conscious solution for the building.
1.5million visitors per year
544competition entries received
Economic structural solution
The winning entry is based on the idea of dividing the functions of the library into three distinctive levels: an active ground floor, a calm upper floor, and an enclosed in-between volume containing the more specific functions. This concept has been developed into an arching form that invites people to use the spaces and services.
The architectural concept has required Arup to develop an economic structural solution combining a 3D arched element in addition to more conventional building solutions.
New benchmark for energy consumption
Arup's team in Dublin worked closely with ALA Architects to realise the challenging energy efficiency target of the competition brief. Arup also developed sustainable solutions for the building and integrated sophisticated structural solutions to carry out the architectural expression of the competition proposal. The energy target for the project is equivalent to 120kWh/m2 per annum, which represents a new benchmark for energy consumption in a modern high-technology library facility.
It has been estimated that the library will attract 5,000 visitors per day and 1.5m visitors per year. The central library is planned to open in 2017 which will be the centenary year of Finland's independence.