Helsinki Central Library

Partner | Joseph Fala
Design Development Studio | Fall 2013
Advisor | Mark Mistur, Lonn Combs
Original Concept | MenoMenoPiu Architects


LIGHT FOREST is a literal and conceptual open source of knowledge feeding the community of Helsinki, aspiring to create an enchanted city within a grove of trees. LIGHT FOREST adapts affectual qualities of the natural landscape to inform and activate horizontal movement while drawing on ephemeral atmospheric conditions of light, shadow and view to create opportunities of respite and rejuvenation.

Today’s world warrants little time for stepping outdoors and finding a personal space to inhabit and dwell among nature. Residing in our natural element elicits a sense of contentment through creating an experience of removal, reflection and rejuvenation. A library that aspires to establish this atmosphere has the capability of freeing the mind and providing a spiritual revitalization for the mental wellbeing of guests visiting the facility for academic or recreational purposes alike.

LIGHT FOREST seeks to engage in a link with nature through both external views as well as performative structural affects of the forest which transform the architecture itself into an extension of the surrounding landscape, reflecting the horizontal and vertical dimensionality, designation of habitat zones, and modulation of light and density. In challenging the notion that a library must be a contained, quiet and nearly isolated space, LIGHT FOREST dissolves boundaries between interior and nature, as well as public space and the library collection. The programmatic organization and means of free circulation through indoor gardens contribute to the departure from the brisk-paced environment of daily life.

LIGHT FOREST will serve as stimuli for the arts. Forestation plays a key role in Finnish culture as a place of welfare, health and spiritual renewal. Situated as a both geographic as well as ideological backdrop for the Helsinki Music Hall, Museum of Fine arts and Parliament building, LIGHT FOREST fosters creative expression and inspiration to create, not only the consummation of knowledge. Acknowledging its presence as only a component in an already vibrant urban setting, the library does not seek to steal the spotlight, but gives to a sense of removal from the dense city scape. Like nature, the library is always open and alive, inviting the public of Helsinki into the woods to return to civilization with new ideas.