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Helsinki Central Library Competition - Finland

Design:    Berkay Ünlükoç

Situated in this very urban and valuable context "SLICE" aims at being a part of daily city life and cityscape by positioning correctly. The inputs and needs of the city and the environment shape the main body of the building in forms of slices. The library forms out of a simple rectangular prism which is shaped by these means.

The major slice which divides the building into three major forms is the sunlight. Sun enters into the building through two big light shafts which are inclined according to the altitude of the sun. As the building plot is located in a north-south axis which is unfavorable in terms of solar gain for climates like Helsinki, this helps to increase the solar gain and let the sunlight reach deeper into the building and fill it with light and joy. The shafts slice the building into three major bodies, thus also providing zones for library's different functional and acoustical needs. These voids also provide a see-through and pass-through effect.

Other slices are products of urban vistas. The southern part of the building block is cut out diagonally in order to give a better view to the Makasiinipuisto park when approached from the central station. Under this cut out there is a plaza where the café extends out and a public entrance exists. This plaza frames the parliament when stood under or at the Töölönlahdenkatu street. The north part of the block which will be perceived from the Töölönlahdenkatu street and when approached from the Alvar Aallon katu street is also cut out diagonally in order to give a better view to the Parliament and the park.

The building does not have a single or main entrance. Instead there is always a drop in point on every possible pedestrian and bicycle paths around. People are encouraged to pass through the library and at each entrance point there is something that might draw one's attention. Book bar, stage, an exhibition or the living lab welcomes you when entered into the building as an implementation of the design keyword "serendipity".

2012 - Helsinki Central Library Competition entry