The planning site is located on the edge of two different urban characteristics. From one side it is bordered by a relative dense structure of the city center of Helsinki, from other side the Töölö-bay surrounds it, which is rather a natural landscape only with a few built elements.
The future park in between provides opportunity to join the new library to the natural landscape, and so the huge building mass of the library is divided into smaller, pavilion-like units.
In the age of network society, library defines itself not as storage of books but as community place. Even if there are changes in content, in technology, the place of a library still carries the role of being a “frame”.
To emphasize this strong receptive frame, in the planning process we have to use those basic tools, which are independent from virtual informations, and are elementary ways of creating our environment: light, sound, nature.
The role of light is extremely essential in this geographical zone. Light has unambiguous role as psychical factor, as therapy either.
The walls built of light provide weightlessness, lightness to the building masses. Their transparency is constantly changing during the day, and compose a kind of living membranes, layers, which act similar to leaves.
The walls do not become rigid as in case of glass, which can seem to be dark and cold. Thanks to the white aerogel material, these walls are rather similar to papersheets of a book, they built up a transparent, introvertive foliage, evoking the inward world of books.
Viewing from the direction of the bay, the real size and scale of the building’s cubes do not reveal itself, they seem to be relative smaller, which is based on the way how the openings are handled. On every white lightcube, one larger opening provides direct visual connection to the surroundings. Also the ground floor is fully opened, expressing that this level already belongs to the street. The resting-places and stairs are emphasized by indirect light coming from above, from the roof, so we gain diverse inner light circumstances.
By night the general effect changes: the cubes become white glow masses. Besides the general inner lighting system, accidental lighting system is placed between the transparent walls and also integrated in the areas of the openings.
Creating big, interwoven, open spaces had a precondition: from north to south and from down upwards the activities and functions in the house are arranged in a way that they become more and more silent. This conception is intensified with the use of islands in the big spaces, made from suitable furnitures.
A garden is the easiest way of modulating the changing climatical conditions. Trees planted outside give shelter in the area of children’s playground and on the terrace of the café. The garden in the roof terrace is not only practical regarding thermal inertia (capacity of storing heat) and water retention ability, but even more valuable as atmosphere created by the closed cultivated garden.
If the library is a garden of knowledge, than this peaceful glade is the place of contemplation.
The green vegetation in the inner areas has important role: it is planted primarily of psychical purpose, secondarily it can modulate the inner climatical conditions and helps to keep the balance of humidity. So does the main element as well, which is a living solitaire tree in the main hall.
The limbs of the tree symbolize the junctions of the garden of knowledge.
Under the foliature in the light, the floating slabs become “branches” as well, this is where the life of the library will pulsate. The “trunks” have the same importance: the vertical communications fulfil the task of moving, charging. The outer loading and storage function is connected to this core as well. The system of stairs are part of the circulation, they make up circular pathways so they allow to make a circle round.