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International architectural competition to be held for the Central Library


The plans to build a new Central Library at Töölönlahti took a step forward on 28 September when the city administration decided to organise an international architectural competition for the library.

The competition will be launched later this autumn. The Central Library is to be built on lot 2014 in Töölönlahti, the area between the Makasiinipuisto park and Töölönlahdenkatu street.

In connection with the architectural competition, the city administration is planning to launch an open naming competition in hopes of finding the Central Library a name that embodies the transitioning nature of library activities.

The architectural competition is based on a project plan prepared by a working group headed by Deputy Mayor Tuula Haatainen. This working group will continue to work as the steering group for the project. The competition will be organised by the Real Estate Department in co-operation with the City Library and the City Planning Department.

The current project plan will be supplemented according to the competition results, and the final plan will be presented for approval by the City Council.

According to the schedule, the construction of the library can begin in 2015 and is expected to be ready in time for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Finnish independence in 2017.

The project plan states that the Central Library will cover an area of approximately 10,000m². The cost estimate of the building is €69.9 million. The annual number of visitors is estimated to be 1.5 million, making the daily number of visitors approximately 5,000.

The aim of the architectural competition is to find a new kind of meeting place for knowledge, skills and stories. In addition to actual library services, the building will host events and enable city residents to get involved and create their own projects. The library of the future is a place in which all people can gather to find information and enjoy reading, but also to have the opportunity to learn and utilise the latest technological applications to produce information.

The project plan features examples of new types of facilities that the Central Library should incorporate. These facilities include, among others, learning environments that promote different ways of learning, an event marketplace and residents’ square, new technology experiment rooms and the residents’ own open office, i.e. a creative office space for independent working. Other facilities on the wish list are quiet learning and meditation areas, space for families with children, a café, a restaurant and small-scale business facilïties.

The architectural competition for the Central Library is part of the Helsinki World Design Capital year.

Additional information:
Deputy Mayor Tuula Haatainen, mobile +358 40 334 5813
Library Director Maija Berndtson, mobile +358 40 551 7335


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