New Oodi library opened in Helsinki from ALA bureau


A new central library Oodi was opened in Helsinki. The authors of the grandiose project were the Finnish bureau ALA Architects .

The sonorous name of the new center really translates from Finnish as “Oda”, and was chosen as a result of a long public discussion. The library was built exactly opposite the parliament building, next to the famous Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and presented to the city as a birthday present for the country. The project cost € 98 million, 30% of the amount was allocated from the state budget and 70% was spent by the city.

This attention is no coincidence. The network of publicly available public libraries is very popular among Finns – almost 2 million people have a library card, that is, more than a third of the country's population. All in all, the network has 853 large, small and even mobile branches and costs each taxpayer about € 57 per year.

The central building of the library network occupies a not very convenient stretch of land. In the near future, it will be crossed by a tunnel, so the whole structure is designed as an almost 100-meter bridge. The narrow, extended volume in the lower part received a “friendly” finish from local spruce.

The program for the use of the new building is extremely wide. Only a third of 17,250 sq. m is set aside for storage, since it is planned to keep only 100 thousand of 3.4 million books available to readers on site. Technical zones are located in the underground part of the building, all maintenance and service processes are automated. The lower level becomes a natural continuation of the urban landscape and contains the most active public areas, including not only cafes, but also the cinema hall of the National Institute of Audiovisual Arts. The second floor is occupied by flexible, multifunctional spaces, a variety of quiet nooks for secluded work, as well as recording studios and workshops with 3D printers and laser cutting machines. At the very top is an open reading room with a wave-like cloud-like ceiling and skylights. They call it the Book Paradise.

Another curious fact that clearly demonstrates the systemic state approach of the Finnish government to the education of citizens: according to the current legislation, the budget for the construction of any socially significant building must separately include an amount “for art”. Therefore, about € 100,000 was spent on a joint project with Helsinki Art Museum ( HAM ), within the framework of which works were commissioned by Finnish artists Jani Russika and Otto Karvonenu .

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