Oodi Helsinki Central Library opens with book-sorting robots
Oodi, a new central library for Helsinki, officially opened to the public last month. Located opposite the Finnish Parliament and civic square (and described as the nation's birthday gift to its citizens), the 17,250sqm (185,000sqf) library was designed by local architecture firm ALA Architects, with its design chosen following an international competition that received 544 entries.
With just a third of the Oodi's space used to hold books – 100,000 volumes – online services and a team of book-sorting robots provide access to nearly 3.4 million physical and digital items for users. This shift in priorities away from a large static collection of books led Oodi's librarians and designers to reconsider the traditional role of the library. The resulting complex is an indoor extension of a public space, offering facilities such as theatres, recording studios, access to public services, as well as exhibition and community spaces. Clad in planks of Finnish spruce timber, the structure extends the public space of the civic square in front, into the enclosed public space of the library, creating a canopy that blurs the boundary between the two.
Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo