Oodi, Helsinki Central Library


Oodi, Helsinki Central Library


Oodi, Helsinki Central Library


Oodi, Helsinki Central Library

Three floors, three atmospheres

Its architectural concept is based on a notion of dividing library functions into three different types of floors, each with their dedicated atmospheres.

The first floor is a fast-paced transformable space. It holds a spacious lobby for organising various events, the library’s information desk, book returns as well as a café. The cinema and the multi-purpose hall located on this floor can be flexibly used for either extending the lobby or organising separate events.

Oodi is a place for learning and doing things. On the second floor, city residents can get creative in the top-class workshop and studio facilities. At the Urban Workshop on the second floor, you can create new things and personalise old ones. A broad range of tools is available for anyone to use, ranging from 3D printer to overlocker, from laser cutter to label printer. The second floor also hosts the state-of-the-art studios for playing music, recording, filming and editing. There are also rooms dedicated for studying and working.

Book Heaven on the third floor of Oodi fuses the traditional library mood and modern library services. The third floor invites you to read, learn and relax. There are 100,000 items available to borrow, a café and nine living trees. The children’s section offers the opportunity to get carried away by stories and imagination. The Citizens’ Balcony facing Parliament House is a great place to admire the Töölönlahti Park and city centre in the summertime.

Oodi – created together

Oodi has been funded by the City of Helsinki and the State. The State’s share of the funding is €30 million, with the total cost at €98 million. Oodi has been a project for the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence.

ALA Architects is responsible for Oodi’s architectural planning, and YIT is the building contractor. The open international architectural competition published in January 2012 received 544 entries from all over the world. Six entries were selected for the second round of the competition in November 2012, and ALA Architects was declared the winner with their entry Käännös in June 2013.

“The design we created for the competition answered the city residents’ dreams with the help of architecture that everybody wanted to build. The draft started to transform irresistibly into an amazing and very sensible building, and none of its exceptional features were questioned because they form an entity greater than the components. As we see it, the completed building is in line with the competition entry and the original idea very well and we cannot wait to see how city residents will embrace the building,” say partners of ALA Architects Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki and Samuli Woolston.

YIT started the construction of Central Library Oodi in September 2015. The building features several original and unique solutions that require special expertise from the building contractor, such as the two steel arches that support the building.

“There have been no compromises in Oodi, we have strived to follow the architectural plans to a T,” says Head Supervisor of Oodi Tero Seppänen at YIT. “Nobody builds such buildings alone; the key to the success of the project and solving various challenges has been in the close co-operation of all parties. It has been a dream to run a site with some of the best people in this industry. With great joy, we hand over the result of our contribution for use by city residents for future decades.”

Library dreams

Oodi has been designed by listening to and engaging its users so that it would match city residents’ hopes and needs in the best possible manner. In 2012, hundreds of library dreams of residents were collected, and with the help of participatory budgeting city residents were able to allocate funds to the development projects of the Central Library.

Over the years, various customer panels and development communities have shared their input as users in Oodi’s design process. Future users have had their say, for example in the choice of Oodi’s seats and the collection of magazines and journals. The name of the library, too, was selected through an open name competition. Oodi is truly a house of all city residents.

Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo