Nationalbibliothek Helsinki

A wooden structure as a public link

The existent setting is determined by a high heterogeneity. Different architectural styles and constructional typologies seem to meet almost incidentally. It is the premier goal of the present concept to create a homogeneous impression not only for the main building lot but to include the surrounding areas as well. At the intersection of urban space, greenery and the northern park, the library is intended to become a building of transition, a public link.

Already existing lines and directions, as far as town planning aspects are concerned, are taken up in this project in a kind of loop and are transformed into the building, therefore creating a strong public character. The clear structure of the glued laminated timber construction realises the given precepts within a wood structure that provides all necessary functional areas.


Flowing Spaces, three degrees of public space

First degree

Arriving from the city’s centre there is a slightly tilted area towards the building that merges with the inner space of the building. The main entrance to the library is located on this level. As an urban courtyard it represents a public area where the whole of the surrounding district can be experienced. Visitors can let their gaze wander and enjoy the centre of Helsinki at that spot.

If one enters the building, one comes across the help-desk, the café, the shop and the cinema. This area is part of the urban space and thus represents the most public part of the building. The restaurant, with its exceptional view, is located on the second floor and is directly connected to this are via the stairwell and the elevator.


Second Degree

The next degree of public space adds to the first the public event area, the multiple purpose hall, the main lobby, the library exhibition, rentable exhibition and the living lab. The functional areas are accessible via the main entrance on the first floor (level 1) as well as via the parking lot on the ground level. Thus several opportunities to use the various functional areas are possible.  


Third degree

The third degree of public space is the library itself. The library and its quiet areas are primarily oriented towards the park via the lamellar front. Thus a relation between the inside and the outside is established that intensifies the atmosphere inside the library. The different functional areas of the library are smoothly connected with each other via a ramp.

Project Name:

Nationalbibliothek Helsinki


Helsinki, Finnland


City of Helsinki, Helsinki




Gernot Ritter, Veronika Hofrichter-Ritter, Matthias Moosbrugger, Andreas Rogala, Christian Freissling

Structural Engineering:

Peter Mandl and Partners ZT GmbH

building physics:

Die Haustechniker, Jennersdorf, Robert Rosenfelder