HELSINKI, FINLAND--(Marketwired - Jun 14, 2013) - An international architectural competition for the Helsinki Central Library has been completed. The winning design of this competition titled Heart of the Metropolis - Helsinki Central Library is Käännös by the Finnish firm ALA Architects of Helsinki.

No second prize was awarded. Liblab by Playa Architects and Kasi by Verstas Architects, both Helsinki-based Finnish firms, shared the third prize. The jury awarded five distinctions. The results were announced on June 14, 2013.

The jury recommends that ALA Architects be commissioned to design the library building. According to plan, the library will be completed in 2017 to celebrate the centennial of Finnish independence. The library is the Finnish Government's official centennial project.

The Helsinki Central Library is envisioned as a next-generation library. Located in the cultural heart of Helsinki in the Töölö Bay area, the library will be a landmark cultural building, a meeting place, and a citizens' living room. The library is expected to receive 5,000 visitors per day -- 1.5 million annually.

The competition was held in two stages. The first stage was an open international competition launched in January 2012. The open competition received 544 submissions from around the world. Six designs were selected for the second stage of the competition.

The organizers of the Helsinki Central Library competition looked for an architecturally outstanding building that would make a valuable addition to its surroundings. According to the jury, Käännös is a sculptural building distinguished by high architectural, functional and ecological values as well as by a harmonious coexistence with the surrounding city space. The building makes extensive use of wood and glass.

The library will stand adjacent to other major public buildings including Finlandia Hall, the Helsinki Music Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Parliament House and the Sanoma House media headquarters building.

The library project has been carried out with active civic participation. All submissions were put on exhibit, and the general public could vote for their favorite design at the exhibit, on touchscreens placed in the city center, and online. The voting results were reviewed by the jury. The winning design is one of the popular choices. Public feedback and ideas for the library have been sought from the beginning of the library project to be used in the development of operations.

To underscore the fact that the new library belongs to the citizens, the Helsinki city library agency organized a "plot party" at the site on June 14. The new library was presented to citizens in party tents with demos and talks, accompanied by festive entertainment. City librarians took library services to the streets on six library bicycles.

Architectural competitions are a strong, long-held tradition in Helsinki. Competitions have produced the majority of Helsinki's main buildings and a number of city plans.

The first prize of the Helsinki Central Library competition is 50,000 euros and the third prizes 31,500 euros each.

More about the Helsinki Central Library competition:

Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

Helsinki Central Library competition completed, release
Käännös, the winning design of the Helsinki Central Library competition by ALA Architects. Rendering © ALA Architects Ltd.
Käännös, the winning design of the Helsinki Central Library competition by ALA Architects, and surroundings in the Töölö Bay area. Rendering © ALA Architects Ltd.

To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to and enter Release ID: 355763

Contact Information:

Johanna Lemola
City of Helsinki