On the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the Finnish Independence Day, the
district council of Helsinki has announced a contest for the realization of a new central
library. This initiative takes place within the World Design Capital 2012, the international
prize assigned to the city of Helsinki for its capacity of reinventing itself through design,
improving its social, cultural and economical life.
The new library will arise in the heart of the city, at the Toolo Bay, an area which holds
a very important role regarding urbanity (due to its centrality), landscape (The Toolo
Bay includes the Toolonlahti Natural Park) and historical architecture (considering
the proximity of the Finnish Parliament, the Finlandia Hall, the Music Center and the
Sanoma House). The inauguration of the library forms part of a broader project, in which
the Finnish government wants to promote culture as one of the strategic principles of
economical and social development of the country, supporting internationalization, multi-
culture, bi-plurilingualism and the prevention of social exclusion.
The new library is going to be the biggest public library in the metropolitan area, both in
terms of structure and services. According to a number of estimates it will receive about
5000 visitors per day. It is characterized by its functional combination, in addition to the
basic librarian services there will be areas for events, the spare time and studying. For
all these reasons the library aims to be a creative and dynamic area, which includes a
heterogeneous union of culture and arts.
The Central Library is going to integrate the urban structure of the Töölönlahti area, and
it will define its public urban central space. Indeed, the project includes the order of the
square, too, having the objective of filling the urban emptiness and in the meantime to
valorize it respecting the urban-architectonical aspect. Its aim will be to create a seam, in
terms of urban landscape, between the existing and the new, the city and nature.
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