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More than 3000 city residents cast their vote – the winner is The Diagonal Agora


A total of 3,221 city residents voted for their favourite library of the future between 23 March and 7 April at the Central Library exhibition held in Meilahti Art Museum, on touch screens in central Helsinki, online and in social media. This second phase of the architectural competition had six entries and the winner of the public vote was The Diagonal Agora with 984 votes (31%), the runner-up was an entry called Käännös with 644 votes (20%) and third place went to Kasi with 462 votes (14%). The results of the vote and accompanying comments will be summarised for the competition panel of judges.

The top two entries, The Diagonal Agora and Käännös, were clearly distinct from the other entries garnering more than 51% of all votes. Competition for placing behind the top two was more even. Third place went to Kasi only two votes ahead of fourth place, an entry called The Heartbeat of Helsinki  Fifth place went to Liblab with 347 votes (11%) and last place to Wave/1 which received 324 votes (10%). Tuula Haavisto, Director of Library Services for the City of Helsinki and a member of the panel, was surprised by the outcome. ”All the people monitoring the exhibition voting reported that the distribution between the most and least favourite entries was very even and that is why I’m surprised to learn the top two entries had such a clear lead”, Haavisto commented. 

Comments capture the different nature of the competition entries

Comments given during voting paint a clear picture of the different profiles of the competition entries and how each of them would suit the Töölönlahti area. More than 100 comments were given. The winner of the voting, an entry named The Diagonal Agora was characterised as a robust entry that combines retro appeal with modern features. Its diagonal concept of twisting piles of books was considered whimsical but, on the other hand, others stated that the structure was too overpowering. The runner-up entry, Käännös, was praised for the fact that the entry does not suffer from the elongated shape of the library plot, but puts it to use in an imaginative way. Many also applauded the choice of wood as the construction material for Käännös and felt that it suited the otherwise glassy landscape of Töölönlahti. The rest of the comments can be viewed at the Central Library competition website.

Most vote for their favourite on a touch screen

A total of 2,185 city residents voted for their favourite entry on a touch screen. Based on feedback given in social media, voting on a touch screen was considered easy and fun. A dozen touch screens were placed around Helsinki city centre for voting. The interactive voting on screens in the street was planned as a collaborative effort between Forum Virium Helsinki, Clear Channel and the City of Helsinki.

The goal is a house full of smiles where the users are in a pivotal role

The winning entry of the architectural competition will be selected in June 2013. The goal is to create a library of the future that is able to respond to the technical and cultural changes of modern society. The aim is to build a public space that will function as a good user interface for creative living. One building will host a multitude of functions: it will function as a beloved house of knowledge, skills and stories, a place with digital know-how, a communal district centre and a third space in between home and work. The ideas and opinions of city residents will be in constant demand as the library of the future is developed. They will also be collected and considered in the future.

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