The Architectural Review has visited the new Kaisa House, students’ library of the University of Helsinki, designed by Anttinen Oiva Architects. Tom Wilkinson’s perceptive and competent critique explores the building and discusses the city of Helsinki where “the wonderful Aalto and the lamentable Holl have both built weirdly” and where “the Finns may soon get what they really don’t want in the form of a Guggenheim-branded albatross”. As to the Kaisa House, Wilkinson parallels the building with David Adjaye’s Whitechapel Idea Store and debates on the language of commerce in institutional building. Nevertheless, AOA’s elegant use of form and light to adapt the building to its various functions seems to have made an impression:
Helsinki University’s new library, on the other hand, is a daydreamer’s dream − a library to make a scopophile’s eyes gleam and mouth water (…) In this hibernatory and frequently frozen city, which spends more time beneath the blankets than a teenage boy, daylight is a scarce commodity to be cherished; this building wrings it from the sky to the very last drop and then splashes it all over its gleaming white interior.
– Tom Wilkinson at The Architectural Review
Read Tom Wilkinson’s full review on The Architectural Review’s website at: www.architectural-review.com/8674379.article.