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An aerial photo of Oodi library in winter.
Helsinki Central Library Oodi by ALA Architects opened to the public in December 2018. photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

Helsinki Central Library Oodi wins Detail Prize 2020

ALA Architects have been awarded the 2020 Detail Prize for their outstanding design for the Helsinki Central Library Oodi. The Detail Prize, which celebrates high-quality architecture in design and detail, is awarded every two years.

Helsinki Central Library Oodi receives more international recognition. The jury of the Detail Prize 2020 highlighted in particular the unique design and the communal characteristics of the library.

The Detail Prize is awarded every two years for a building that is especially characterised by well-designed, future-oriented and technically-innovative details within an outstanding overall concept. This time the prize was exceptionally awarded to two buildings: in addition to Oodi, the 1st prize went to People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven, a temporary pavilion built from recycled material and designed by Bureau SLA & Overtreders W.

In their statement, the jury emphasized the memorable design and the communality aspects of Oodi. According to the jury, Oodi is not only a repository of knowledge but it clearly sets an example for the fields of culture and education as well as for the potential of social interaction in our increasingly atomised cities.

“The architects have solved complex urban planning and functional challenges with a memorable design that in its implementation has lost none of the fascination of the original competition concept. The building’s form seems spontaneous and yet is evidently carefully thought out: the bridge construction that opens the centre of the building to the city is, in fact, responding to structural contingencies. The division of the structure into a hull-like, timber-clad base with a dematerialised glass lantern above convinces. From the grandest gesture to the smallest detail, this building impresses with a sophistication that has already turned it into a beacon for excellence in architecture”, the jury stated.

The jury consisted of Detail magazine’s editor-in-chief Sandra Hofmeister, architect Louisa Hutton from Sauerbruch Hutton, Kim Herforth Nielsen, the founder of 3XN, Anna Ramos, the director of Mies van der Rohe Foundation, and Jacob van Rijs MVRDV.

At a public award-ceremony on 28 January 2021, the winning projects for the main prize, the prize-winning project for the DETAIL Prize for Students and Schools of Architecture and the DETAIL Readers’ Prize will be presented by the respective offices. More information from the Detail website through this link.