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Kaannos, ALA Architect’s winning submission for the Helsinki Central Library competition, is set to open in 2018. The new public building comprises mainly of public spaces and, as the competition name implies, will be located at the heart of Helsinki.

Arch2o-Käännös  ALA Architects  (1)

Courtesy of ALA Architects

Its design is made up of three levels with each serving a very specific function: ground floor as active, upper level as quiet and reserved, and mid-level to house the specific, private functions. The library hopes to bring together the diverse population of Helsinki into one area since it will be accommodating to the working class, families, and students alike.

Arch2o-Käännös  ALA Architects  (3)

Courtesy of ALA Architects

A large public plaza spans in front of the new library and merges into the first floor of the structure with its restaurant and cinema. This open area will be flexible to absorb any function that is needed of it for the public. The welcoming entry is complemented by a large spiraled double-helix staircase that circulates upwards into the main library or third level. It’s here where the applied function lies with an impressive collection of books and an unobstructed view of the city of Helsinki. The mid-level houses the multimedia space and a public sauna.

 Arch2o-Käännös  ALA Architects  (14)

Courtesy of ALA Architects

The soft curved wooden façade provides an overhang for the ground level plaza to become both functional and expressive of the architect and city. Local materials are used throughout the entire building to help it stay efficient: timber and Siberian Larch wood.

Arch2o-Käännös  ALA Architects  (10)

Courtesy of ALA Architects

Analysis of the façade performance helps the structure to reduce the amount of systems needed to keep the building functional.

By Lyly Huyen

Courtesy of ALA Architects

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