The schedule and the jury of the architectural competition for the Central Library to be built at Töölönlahti have been specified. The executive group of the City of Helsinki decided on 19 October that the competition will launch in January 2012 and that the results will be ready for publication in June 2013.
Mayor Jussi Pajunen named Deputy Mayor Tuula Haatainen, Library Director Maija Berndtson, City Planning Department Director of Planning Tuomas Rajajärvi and Real Estate Department Project Manager Irmeli Grundström to the Jury to serve as representatives of the city.
Furthermore, Director General Riitta Kaivosoja from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Sitra Energy Programme Senior Lead Jarek Kurnitski, Aalto University Senior Researcher Tuuli Mattelmäki, Rector of University of Lapland, Ph.D. Mauri Ylä-Kotola and, as presented by the Finnish Association of Architects, architects Vesa Oiva and Käpy Paavilainen will also be invited to the jury.
The jury will also hear external experts. An architect acquainted with public buildings and an expert in the field of libraries will be named to provide international perspectives.
The Architectural Competition will be arranged as an open, two-phase international design competition. The maximum total cost of the competition is EUR 1.1 million, which will be paid from the City Library and the Real Estate Department appropriations allocated to the Architectural Competition.
The jury chooses the 6–8 best proposals to participate in the second phase of the competition. Each competitor chosen for the second phase will receive an award of EUR 25 000. Furthermore, the winning entry will recieve an award of EUR 50 000, the runner-up an award of EUR 37 500 and the third-placed competitor an award of EUR 25 000.
The aim of the competition is to find a high-quality and long-lasting design solution, which fits into the cityscape of the Töölönlahti block entity. The building must offer settings of good functional quality and high flexibility in terms of technology and space for a library administration in transformation. The building must also be ecologically efficient and technologically and economically feasible.
The Central Library is planned to be built on lot no. 2014 in Töölönlahti, in the area between the Makasiinipuisto park and the Töölönlahdenkatu street. The entries may, for justified reasons, deviate from the border of the lot that has been established in the city plan, but only in a way that does not require a change in the city plan. The essential design principles, the cityscape objectives and the nature in the park area must be preserved. The walking and cycling routes which border the buildings must also remain fluent.
The architectural competition is prepared by the Helsinki City Real Estate Department in association with the City Library and City Planning Department. The City Planning Committee decided on the competition planning principles in terms of city plans and cityscapes at its meeting on 18 October 2011.