The new Oode (English: ode) central library in downtown Helsinki opened on December 5, 2018, the day before the 101st anniversary of Finland’s independence. The parliament building, concert hall, Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia hall, and Steven Holl’s Museum Kiasma are all close by. The elegant building with its expressive roofscape is based on a design by ALA Architects, Helsinki.
The building has three levels. On the ground floor are the spacious lobby and an exhibition and event area, central library services, and a café. Core elements on the second floor are an activity space for work and study, interaction, and gaming, together with meeting rooms and an urban workshop. The third floor or “book heaven” is a relaxed space devoted to books. Another café and terrace round off the classic library experience on this floor. The multipurpose first floor can be used for various functions. The library contains 100,000 books in a total area of around 10,000 square meters.
This central book space also reflects Finland’s library structure. All citizens have a right of access to public libraries, which have the task of promoting lifelong learning, civic-mindedness, and free expression.
Detailed sustainability analyses and the efficient use of building materials ensure that the Oodi Central Library is practically a zero-energy building. The architects’ focus on durable materials is also evident in the bathrooms. The timelessly modern ME wall-mounted toilets by Starck and D-code washbasins from Duravit offer the highest function and design quality.