Helsinki Public Library

Helsinki Public Library
Helsinki Public Library


Helsinki, Finland


International Competition



Site Area


Floor Area



Rafael Luna, Dongwoo Yim


​When we think of the title for this competition, “The Heart of the Metropolis”, it makes us analyze the civic duty and responsibility that this building will have for the city of Helsinki. The intent of this project is to propose a building that serves a larger civic function by creating a space for congregation at an urban scale; library as a “Living Room” for the city.

Architecturally, we were thinking of how to maximize the relationship between the city, the library, and its surroundings with a clear massing strategy. Because the building is oriented North to South, a vertical doughnut is stretched along the North and South axis to create a large elevated atrium that serves as the city living room. This strategy allows for the library collection to be elevated as a beacon of education to the city while all other programming is organized around the atrium.

In order to create flexibility between the public educational program and the social living room, we encapsulate larger elements into structural tubes that sit within two mega-trusses. This allows for a duality of spatial relation where programs, like the cinema, can be inside one of the tubes while lounges connect to the atrium.

The main goal for this building will be to provide the sense of urbanity, social interaction and mixing, views to the city, interaction between the neighboring cultural facilities, while encompassing a new vision for education in a single building; a true metropolitan building that not only creates a dialogue with the city, but one within the architectural language, making it timeless and essential for Helsinki.



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