52afe3d8e8e44e1c91000060_helsinki-university-main-library-anttinen-oiva-architects_copy__an38920_copiaThe largest academic library in Finland, Helsinki University’s Main Library is located in in the very heart of the historic capital’s city center. Built by Anttinen Oiva Architects and completed in 2012, the library was designed to offer a wide range of services to a large body of patrons, and it merges function with an incredible design both interior and exterior.

“Helsinki University’s Museum is a particularly interesting dichotomy,” notes Billy Rose, President and Co-founder of The Agency. “It nestles into the community as if it were long-standing, and yet it is also overtly contemporary. The brick façade stands in contrast to (and yet complements) the perforations in its skin.”


The new library building fits in with Helsinki’s traditional brick facades, yet is itself a striking new design with the latest cutting-edge technologies.

“This imposing building in the center of Helsinki provides a gateway to the new information age,” note the architects.

“The architectural starting point – the cityscape considered – was a vision of a unique 52afe4c1e8e44e1c9100006a_helsinki-university-main-library-anttinen-oiva-architects_copy_kaisa-063_copiapublic building that will suit its surroundings in terms of its materials, design and height. The dense fenestration grid, which blurs the standard floor division, together with the large arched openings give the library a distinct external appearance. By varying the size of the arched openings the building is fitted as an integrative solution within a situation of three different types of street space.”

The large main windows are suspended steel structures, with excellent views of the surrounding city center. Already, the university library has become an exciting new part of Helskinki’s architectural history. If you’re passing through Finland this summer, it’s well worth a stop.

See more pics in the gallery below (*Arch Daily and photographer Mika Huisman).