Wooden public library with citizens at the core

Oodi is a homage to traditional Finnish wooden construction, a new library and multifunctional citizens’ forum for 2.5 million visitors a year that pushes the boundaries of large wooden public buildings.

Oodi, Developed by: ALA Architects & City of Helsinki

As part of Finland’s centenary celebrations, Helsinki is now home to Oodi, is a magnificent hybrid wooden construction and landmark that serves to refresh the city’s library services for 150 years to come. The centrepiece of library, which will serve as a flexible open public space for an estimated 10,000 daily visitors, is a gigantic wooden bridge structure that extends out towards the Finnish Parliament across the Citizens’ Square. The wooden façade consists of 2,800 prefabricated elements of local spruce, which have undergone years of aging and fire testing and optimisation. The process was data-driven using laser scanning to ensure precision of the components’ production and assembly.   

In Finnish homes and schools, wood is gaining traction as a sustainable building material, but large public buildings are yet to realise the full benefits of timber construction. One of the major barriers is unfamiliarity amongst authorities, so from the outset Oodi worked with the authorities to ensure the project met up to regulation, and the resulting quality assurance procedure is publicly available to help future projects of this nature. Built to last for 150 years, the library is a nearly zero-energy building, designed for ease of maintenance with easily replaceable wooden elements. Oodi demonstrates the possibilities of constructing public buildings using low-carbon, local building materials that last.  


  • innovation benifits icon: innovation benifits icon
  • innovation benifits title: SOCIAL & LOCAL
  • innovation benifits text: Oodi is so much more than a place to borrow books, with the focus on flexible public space that can be used for a huge number of purposes from eating and drinking to watching films and theatre.
  • partnership benifits icon: partnership benifits icon
  • partnership benifits title: ENVIRONMENT
  • partnership benifits text: Using low-carbon wooden elements brings the carbon footprint of the building down to 280kg CO2eq per square meter, and the natural properties reduce the need for HVAC, reducing energy use and increasing architectural flexibility.
  • economic benifits Icon: economic benifits Icon
  • economic benifits title: PARTNERSHIPS
  • economic benifits text: The process brought together a large number of players, including Aalto University who worked with the testing of elements, and the local authorities to ensure harmony between the building’s design and the regulation.

The Nordic Wood in Construction Secretariat is hosted by EIT Climate-KIC

The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.