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Image: ALA architects

Landmark new building to open in Helsinki

The grand opening of Oodi, a new library, public space a centre for events, ties in with Finland’s Independence Day celebrations this week.

A two-day grand opening for a landmark new building in Helsinki begins tomorrow and continues into Finland’s Independence Day on Thursday.

A striking structure in glass and steel and with a wavy wooden façade, Helsinki Central Library Oodi is an energy-efficient building that is being described as a new calling card for Finnish architecture.

An open public space at Kansalaistori Square, opposite Parliament House, Oodi promises to be “an active and functional meeting point”, according to the City of Helsinki, with 2.5 million annual visitors expected.

Apart from traditional library services, Oodi also features a café, a restaurant, a cinema, art spaces, studio facilities and an urban workshop. The library itself will make use of robot technology, leaving professionals with more time to serve customers.

Multi-purpose hall
Among other areas, the first floor has an airy lobby for organising events, while the cinema and a multi-purpose hall located on this floor can be flexibly used either for extending the lobby or for organising separate events.

On the second floor are the workshop and studio facilities, where a 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 studios for playing music, recording, filming and editing. There are also rooms dedicated for studying and working.

Book Heaven on the third floor fuses a traditional library atmosphere with modern library services, a place to read, learn and relax with 100,000 items available to borrow, a café and even nine trees, plus a summertime balcony with views of Töölönlahti Park and city centre.

Oodi will open to the public for the first time at 08:00 on December 5, with an opening day programme to start at 13:00, continuing until around 20.30, taking place on an outdoor stage and inside. The festivities resume on Finland’s 101st birthday, December 6.

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