The design for the Helsinki Central Library is as much about a place for finding information as it is a place where the search for information uncovers wonderful free associations promoting discovery and exchange.


The central space of the 15,850sqm library is an atrium that begins on the ground floor and connects formally the floors with vertical circulation, while bringing light deep into the building. In parallel, there is a secondary circulation used by the Automated Library System, delivering books from condensed storage below to the various areas of the library. Books and people collectively form the architectural skeleton for the

new building while an environmental and operational strategy construct the library’s

circulatory and nervous system.


The use of winter gardens in the atria serve important functions: first, the plants provide a healthy balance of being inside a large public building by filtering the air and bringing the park inside, secondly, the atria create visual connections between different types of spaces within the library.


Integral to the design is the use of colour in the predominantly snowy white landscape.

Helsinki City Library


Client: The City of Helsinki / Finland

Type: Public Library

Team: Nathaniel Kolbe, Lida Charsouli, Eddie Can, Jade Lee, Chiu-Fai, Jae Yoon

Structural & Environmental Engineers: Thornton Tomasetti, New York

Year: 2012


© 2016 Copyright SUPERFUSIONLAB -

RIBA Chartered Practice - 1 Fore Street, London EC2Y 5EJ