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Summer tour of Helsinki libraries 

Libraries are our most popular cultural service and a cornerstone of education. The respect for literacy and the library services can also be seen in the library buildings, many of which are the best examples of the architecture of their time. Helsinki libraries include examples of architecture from the 1880s to this day. Join us on the summer tour to learn about them! 

Sights and time traveling

Rikhardinkatu Library in Kaartinkaupunki is the first public library in the Nordic region. The neo-renaissance building was completed in 1881. It was designed by the Finnish architect Theodor Höijer. The library was the meeting place of the commoner estates during the Diet of 1882.

Roihuvuori Library takes you on a trip to the 1950s. The library was opened in 1958, and its original spirit has been conserved through the decades. Architect Claus Tandefelt was inspired by the functionalistic Vyborg Library designed by Alvar Aalto. Both have a multi-level library hall, for example. The cosy building is a protected building of national significance. 

Töölö Library is an excellent summer destination in Topelius Park. The modernistic library building constructed in 1970 was designed by Professor Aarne Ervi, also known for designing Tapiola, among other locations. The library’s beautiful details include the eye-like skylight above the stairwell. 

Central Library Oodi, opened in late 2018, is a tourist attraction in itself. The building designed by the ALA architecture agency is the busiest library in Helsinki and sees over 200,000 visits during a normal year. 

Small and cozy

Vallila Library is one of the gems of local libraries. It operates inside the bright and open community centre designed by academic Juha Leiviskä 30 years ago. The building also houses a daycare centre. Vallila Library is an excellent example of wooden construction, and it also includes hints of Leiviskä’s internationally renowned church architecture.

Etelä-Haaga Library, located in the wonderful park area of Haaga, is a small and charming library. The two-floor intimate library operates inside a 1964 brick building next to Haaga Comprehensive School. The architect was Helvi Mether-Borgström

Modern architecture

Maunula Library, completed in 2017, is a part of Maunula House. The premise for the building was the clear 50s and 60s architecture of the area, as well as the presence of nature. The building is dominated by large windows, wooden walls and a bevelled ceiling. The residents were invited to participate in the design from the start. The library was designed by the K2S architecture agency with Mikko Summanen as its head architect. 

Herttoniemi Library, opened in March 2020, showcases a new urban culture: it is located inside the Hertsi shopping centre, along with a daycare centre and a nursery home. The library shares it colourful facilities with the City’s youth services. The head architect for Hertsi was Harri Koskinen from the L Arkkitehdit agency. 

Vuosaari Library is a modern library in a modern cultural centre, Vuosaari House. The building was constructed 20 years ago, designed by Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen. The external characteristics of the semicircle-shaped Vuosaari House include stainless steel mesh, concrete and glass. The building’s amazingly high interior is also unique with pine grids as partition walls and a birch floor.
Free of charge 
Photos: The City of Helsinki- Virpi Peltola: Rikhardinkatu Library, Maarit Hohteri: Herttoniemi Library

6/1/2021 10:00 AM - 8/31/2021 7:00 PM

Last updated 5/20/2021