In early September 2012, Finland’s largest academic library, the Helsinki University Main Library, was opened to the public.
“This is Helsinki’s amazing new living room,“ said Thomas Wilhelmsson, Rector of the University of Helsinki, in his opening speech for the new Helsinki University Main Library.
The newly opened library doesn’t just look amazing. It’s also the new home of 30 shelf-kilometres of books and ready to serve over 20,000 students, researchers and teachers, not to mention the rest of the information seeking and curious residents of Helsinki.
It’s no coincidence the library is being opened in 2012, the year when Helsinki is the World Design Capital. It’s a part of the official design capital programme and clearly embodies the main aspects of the year: rethinking design to create a better society.
One might think that libraries are a thing of the past now that a book can easily be ordered by the click of a button from the convenience of home. But according to Rector Wilhelmsson the physical library buildings are needed as a meeting point and as a sort of living machine that supports creative thinking.
The library, partly financed by NIB with a EUR 27 million loan, also constitutes an important part in the University of Helsinki’s strategic and ambitious goal to become one of the top 50 universities in the world.
Vesa Oiva, from Anttila Oiva Architects, explains that the inspiration for creating their winning concept was how to combine the functionality of the building with the very central location in the city of Helsinki. The space itself was the starting point of the whole concept. According to Mr Oiva, the most challenging part was to create an atmosphere that would suit all users.
Olli Lampinen, a fourth-year theology student at University of Helsinki, is writing a lecture diary on one of the daybeds close to the large windows overlooking Kaisaniemi street. During his previous visits to the library, he has already identified his favourite place to study by the large window on the first floor, preferably in one of the comfortable armchairs designed by Finnish designer Yrjö Kukkapuro. Unfortunately, they were all taken this time.
“The building is stylish and works well with the three other university buildings it is linked to via a corridor for easy access,” Olli concludes. “As a street, Kaisaniemi itself is quite ugly but the designers have managed to create a building suitable for the space.”
The legal students Piia Nyström and Niko Aarnio are frequent users of the newly opened library. They are both thrilled by the amount of light and the open main lobby with its oval hole going all the way to the top of the building, bringing daylight to all floors.
“I continuously find new details and am surprised by their ingenuity, and the incredible automated check-out stations that are able to read bar-codes form at least five books in one go,” Piia adds with enthusiasm.
Pinja Kankare is looking for a book on organisational management on the second floor. The second-year social psychology major is amazed by the new library.
“Helsinki has gotten its Guggenheim,” Pinja praises.
A loan agreement has been signed with the Swedish company Vimmerby Energi & Miljö AB to finance a new bio-fuelled combined heat and power plant.
8 May 2013
A loan programme with Suomen Hypoteekkiyhdistys will help improve environmental value and energy efficiency for many Finnish households.
29 Apr 2013
The NIB-financed wastewater treatment projects in Belarus have received grant financing from the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership and the governments of Sweden and Finland.
26 Mar 2013
NIB has signed a loan agreement with the University of Helsinki Funds for the construction of a new library.
21 Jun 2011
Pohjoismaiden Investointipankki (NIB) on allekirjoittanut lainasopimuksen Helsingin yliopiston rahastojen kanssa. Laina on yhteensä 27 miljoonaa euroa, ja se käytetään Suomen suurimman akateemisen kirjaston rakentamiseen.
21 Jun 2011
Nordiska Investeringsbanken (NIB) har beviljat Helsingfors universitets fonder ett lån. Lånet på totalt 27 miljoner euro ska användas för att bygga det största akademiska biblioteket i Finland.
21 Jun 2011