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Helsinki Central Library Oodi

The design grows from the dynamic between the site and the goals of the library program. The key concept is the interplay between the building’s three individual floors.

The public plaza in front of the building continues inside the building, merging with a catalogue of meeting and experience features. The ground floor is a robust, busy and frequently updated space suitable for quick visits and walkthroughs. The active, zero-threshold public spaces are visible, attractive, understandable and welcoming to all visitors.

The traditional, serene library atmosphere can be found on the top floor. This is a calm and contemplative area floating above the busy central Helsinki. It offers unobstructed, majestic views to the surrounding park and cityscape.

These two contrasting spaces that perfectly complement each other are created by an arching wooden volume. The spaces inside the volume are enclosed and more intimate. The wooden volume is stretched vertically to create connections to the open main floors below and above.

Aerial view, photo by Iwan Baan
Aerial view, photo: Iwan Baan
Aerial view, close up of balcony, photo: Iwan Baan
Aerial view, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
West facade, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
West facade, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
View from under the canopy, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
South facade, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Main entrance, photo: Iwan Baan
Ground floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Ground floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Ground floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Ground floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Ground floor, multipurpose hall, photo: Iwan Baan
Ground floor, entrance to Kino Regina, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Middle floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Middle floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Middle floor, photo: Iwan Baan
Middle floor, urban workshop, photo: Iwan Baan
Middle floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Middle floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, photo: Iwan Baan
Top floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, children's library, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, children's library, photo: Iwan Baan
Top floor, children's reading room, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Double helix stair, photo: Iwan Baan
Aerial view, June 2017, photo: Hannu Vallas / Lentokuva Vallas
Aerial view, September 2017, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
View from the direction of Kansalaistori, July 2017, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
View towards Sanomatalo, July 2017, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Site view, July 2017, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, July 2017, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Spiral staircase during construction, March 2018, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Ground floor, November 2018, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Middle floor, October 2018, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
Top floor, November 2018, photo: Tuomas Uusheimo
West elevation
North & south elevations
East elevation
Longitudinal section
Short sections
Urban site plan
Ground Floor
First Floor
Second Floor
Ground Floor Axonometric
First Floor Axonometric
Second Floor Axonometric

NAME: Helsinki Central Library Oodi

TYPE: Open competition, 2013, 1st prize

STATUS: Built, the library opened on December 5, 2018

LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland

CLIENT: City of Helsinki

PROGRAM: Library functions, group working spaces, recording studios, maker space, movie theater, multi-purpose hall, café, 17,000 m2 total

TEAM: ALA partners Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta (until 2015) and Samuli Woolston with Niklas Mahlberg, Michal Bala, Marina Diaz Garcia, Jyri Eskola, Zuzana Hejtmankova, Anna Juhola, Mette Kahlos, Anniina Kortemaa, Malgorzata Mutkowska, Justin Ng, Aleksi Niemeläinen, Marlène Oberli-Räihä, Olli Parviainen, Anton Pramstrahler, Akanksha Rathi, Niina Rinkinen, Pauliina Rossi, Heikki Ruoho, Mikael Rupponen, Mirja Sillanpää, Miguel Silva, Pekka Sivula, Tom Stevens, Tuulikki Tanska, Nea Tuominen, Jussi Vuori and Erica Österlund

COLLABORATORS: Pöyry CM (project manager), Ramboll Finland/UK/Denmark (structural engineering), Finnmap Infra & Sipti Infra (geo planning), Projectus Team (HVAC), Insinööritoimisto Lausamo (electrical engineering), Insinööritoimisto Markku Kauriala (fire safety), Gravicon (BIM coordination), VIZarch (renderings), Arup (energy technical specialist, mechanical engineering, structural engineering and facade engineering in competition phase), Klaus Stolt (scale models)