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When acoustics and design meet to offer a unique place for readers

In the heart of Helsinki, on Kansalaistori Square, is the Finns' new, readers’ haven: the Oodi Library. The unique building is located opposite the Finnish Parliament and close to the Helsinki Music Center and Kiasma Museum in one of the most vibrant districts of the city. From the top floor - also called 'the book sky' - visitors get a prime view of the city and the nearby park. Oodi, which means ‘Ode’, is an innovative space for book lovers, events and multifaceted activities.

• The building structure has an area of 17,000 sqm
• The project has cost 98 million Euro
• The library’ collection includes 100 thousand books in 17 different languages
• The top floor has 4,450 sqm of Mono Acoustic ceiling from Rockfon
• In 2016 Finland was named by the UN the world’s most literate nation

Architecture for the world's most literary people

The Oodi Library has been built in 2018 as part of the centenary of Finnish independence and intended as a gift to the citizens. Finns definitely deserve a tribute for having been voted as the most literary people from the UN in 2016.

The distinctive building was designed by Finnish ALA Architects and opened the doors for the first time in December 2018. Since then, thousands have flocked to visit the unique setting. Niklas Malmberg, one of the architects, says:
“It is gone beyond all expectations. During the second week of January, the library for example had over 300,000 visitors. We have created our version of a modern library in collaboration with the citizens of Helsinki, and this has resulted in a venue for creativity and learning. It was important for us to create a place where functionality and visual design go hand in hand, so visitors will have the great pleasure of being there and use the various leisure facilities that Oodi offers”

Acoustics play a crucial role

Oodi is anything but a traditional library. It extends over three floors with three different concepts and offers - in addition to the traditional facilities - a cafe, a restaurant, a cinema, a sound and film studio as well as a large, public terrace. Oodi also stands out when it comes to sound and acoustics. Most of us are accustomed to the fact that libraries require silence to function, but in this case, the common standards have been elevating thanks to carefully selected and well thought out materials and solutions from Rockfon.

An acoustic ceiling resembles the sky

“The top floor is the classic library. It is an open landscape where the acoustics were an essential part of the architectural planning. We worked from the start closely with an expert in acoustics to create the most comfortable environment”, says Niklas Malmberg.

The top floor is known as “the book sky", and when you look at the ceiling, you understand why. Visually, it resembles a sky full of white clouds in undulating shapes. The special expression is created by a 4,450 sqm acoustic ceiling from the manufacturer Rockfon.

“Mono Acoustic ceilings from Rockfon is an ideal solution. The ceiling tiles are very flexible and easy to work with and lived up to our creative idea and concept. We are very satisfied with the result”, says the Finnish architect.

The fact that several Nordic prestige projects take into account the acoustics in interaction with the design is a trend that is indeed noticed by Rockfon. 

The suspended ceilings are in acoustic class A. The various possibilities of shaping and modeling the tiles offer a unique creative process to designers and architects. The 'book sky' is certainly a great example of how our products can realize the desired final result and create various expressions. A similar solution has also been used for Novo Nordisk's new headquarters just north of Copenhagen and Kalvebod Common School in Amager. Examples like these indicate how Nordic architecture impresses over and over again, and it is wonderful to see that acoustics have become such an essential part of architectural planning and visual design.

Helsinki Central Library Oodi

Töölönlahdenkatu 4
00100 Helsinki
Finland

Helsinki Central Library Oodi

Location:Finland
Architect:ALA Architects
Photographer:Olli Urpela
Tiles:Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic
Edges:TE
Dimensions:1200 x 1200