Helsinki Central Library Oodi Nears Completion
The landmark public library will be complemented by the new Amos Anderson art museum in Helsinki’s cultural district
The downtown cityscape of the Finnish capital Helsinki is about to be crowned with a new landmark building: Helsinki Central Library Oodi will open doors on December 3, 2018.
The library building is a powerful and iconic contemporary design by ALA Architects of Helsinki. It completes Helsinki’s downtown cultural district in the Töölönlahti area, where it is flanked by many other architectural landmarks.
The library name Oodi – the Finnish for Ode – symbolizes the role of this public library in Helsinki and for all of Finland. “We will be a temple of literacy and a place of learning,” says Oodi Director Anna-Maria Soininvaara.
Soininvaara points out that the building faces the Finnish Parliament House directly across an open space, which makes the two buildings equals in space. “The physical connection is an ideal context for interaction between citizens and the State. It opens a new avenue to promote freedom of speech and democracy,” she says.
Oodi will both serve as a traditional library and foster digital culture.
The top floor of the three-story building is dedicated to traditional library functions. This is an unbroken and adaptable space, in which functions blend into each other. Through glass walls and from a wide balcony, the top floor offers views to the surrounding cityscape.
The middle floor is dedicated to learning by doing. There are urban workshops and studios for multimedia productions.
The ground level forms an extension to a public plaza in front of the building. This floor is a multipurpose hall for services, including exhibitions, information counters, cafés, and a cinema.
Helsinki Central Library Oodi expects to host 10,000 visitors daily and 2.5 million annually. The design by ALA Architects was the winning proposal in an open international design competition, which received 544 proposals.
In addition to Library Oodi, Helsinki’s downtown cultural district will soon be strengthened further by the private Amos Anderson Art Museum of Helsinki with a new museum entitled Amos Rex, which will open on 30 August 2018.
Amos Rex, designed by JKMM Architects of Helsinki, is largely underground, placed underneath the square of the museum’s new home base in the modernist 1936 Lasipalatsi building. The underground museum space is built with structural dome ceilings, which shape the square above, with skylights providing a connection between the exhibition hall and the square. The overall feel of the underground space is simple and calm.
“The philosophy of the design is that the museum shouldn’t be an artwork in itself but serve art flexibly,” says Amos Rex spokesman Timo Riitamaa.
Helsinki Central Library Oodi and Amos Rex are discussed in more detail in the new edition of the City of Helsinki bulletin Helsinki News. Find a copy of Helsinki News and renderings of the new buildings in Documents and Photos available for this release.