The library’s spiral staircase fell from the sky

The sky was the limit, when the spiral staircase bringing together the three upper floors of Oodi was majestically lifted into place in February. The stairs were lowered calmly, one part at a time, through a hole made in the roof, and suspended from the cables of a telescopic boom. Putting the stairs in place is one of the milestones of the construction process.

The stairs arrived to the site as a special transportation consignment in ten separate blocks. The finished staircase comprises two spirals, A staircase and B staircase, which diverge from each other. The total weight of the steel staircase is 80 tonnes. The stairs were manufactured by Normek Oy, as were the steel arches supporting the entire library.

In the photo, the first section of the stairs on the entrance floor is already in place and a cable is being used to pull the next part to the correct angle for welding. During construction, a massive hole was left between the floors, but the roof had to be reopened for the event.

“We built a weather guard on the roof above the stairs and removed the roof element. When the last part of the staircase has been lowered in place, the element will be closed and re-seamed. On the different floors, the staircase area is protected with EPS insulation boards to preserve heat while the roof is open,” says Worksite Manager Mansoor Ardam.

For customers with mobility issues, there are alternatives to the stairs: escalator and lifts. The frame of the escalator was also installed in February. The technology, railings and steps are still to be installed and, later on, adjustments and test runs will be performed. Installation of the lifts is also underway.

The shape of the suspended ceiling reveals the new shape of the skylights

A scale model has been installed in the suspended ceiling of the third floor, where the actual books will reside. The scale model helps those involved in the project study how the suspended ceiling can achieve a beautiful, wavy shape and how the skylights can be used to build a set of simple, yet elegant, light shafts.

The skylights were originally octagonal in shape, but as the scale model has been built they have gradually become round light shafts. The ceiling will be white and seamless and appear as if it is being sucked into the skylights. Due to the wavy form of the ceiling, both the ceiling and the skylight are positioned lower in some parts of the third floor and higher in others.

The light shafts will be built into vertical frames, as shown in the photo above. First, acoustic mineral wool will be placed into the frame. It will be covered with sprayable MonoRoc insulating plaster. This is a thick plaster, which helps soundproof the premises, repels water and is also energy-efficient. The base plaster will be later covered by a smoother, sprayed coating. Thanks to this method, the suspended ceiling will look like a solid rock ceiling.

The construction of the children’s section and its balcony at the northern end of the third floor is progressing quickly. Less than a year from now, story times will be held under the balcony!

The window installations in the library and the windows’ seaming work proceed on the eastern side of the building as the weather permits. The freezing temperatures of February have not disrupted the lifting of the glass panels into place in the mechanical fasteners, but seaming work requires a more temperate climate.

On the balcony side, i.e. the western side, over half of the windows have already been fitted into their mechanical fasteners. In the photo, workers are preparing to move a glass panel from the pallet by attaching it to the suction cup lift.

Not all the colours of the rainbow

According to an old Finnish nursery rhyme, a painter paints the house red and blue. Specialist painter Pasi Kalliokoski from Lainisalo Rakennusmaalaus Oy has to settle for black and white.

“In addition to black and white, the library’s colour landscape will include veneer surfaces. The furniture will add the colour. The ceilings and the ceiling channels have been painted black and so have the elements between ceilings and walls The walls themselves will not be painted much, since they will be covered with acoustic and veneer panelling. A few of the walls will be white. Black and white are standard colours in public premises, whereas other colours, structure surfaces and wallpapers are often used in commercial premises,” Pasi said before hopping into the man-lift and beginning the filling work on the structure below the suspended ceiling.

Carpenter Marto Jaakson was busy with building the socle of the second-floor wall separating the office spaces. Glass windows will be fitted along the corridor. Marto has been working on the library site for a year, and his work on the socle is going quickly.

The other carpenters are busy in the sitting area on the second floor, building its wooden frame. Within a few months, this area will be made into an inviting lounge and reading area.

More experience on the worksite

The newest site manager of the library worksite has plenty of experience to share. Jorma Pelkonen, 60, came to Oodi from an office building site in Kalasatama.

“Oodi, with its special structural solutions, is a significantly more challenging site than an office building I’m in charge of tiling, for example, and even the large toilet facilities in the basement are exceptional. Impressive, three centimetre thick limestone plates will be used as a visual element, attached to the walls with steel pegs.”

Jorma has been involved in the construction of apartments, offices, a hotel and even a railway tunnel. This list of references will be complemented with the central library before Jorma’s retirement at 63.



Text and photos: Liisa Joensuu, Tmi Magic Words

Facade windows on the sunrise side

The facade windows of the upper floor of Oodi have been lifted into place in the eastern wall of the building, facing the sunrise in the morning. Even though bright mornings are still some way away, the floor-to-ceiling high windows are a delightful sight amidst the greyness of early winter.

In the photo, manlifts are used in the dismantling of EPS boards, which were used as wall structures that insulated the building and protected it against wind before the windows were installed into their mechanical fittings. The windows will not be visible for very long on the Töölönlahdenkatu side, since when seaming work starts, the eastern wall will be covered by scaffolding and weather guards.

At this stage, the weather guard is covering the northern end of the building. The windows will be sealed both from inside and outside, and the weather guard will ensure suitable temperatures above freezing point and dry conditions.

The curving forms of the Oodi facade are starting to emerge now that some of the facade elements have been lifted into their fittings on the building’s western side. Later on, the elements will be covered with wooden framing, to which the final surface material will be attached. The balcony is located on the outward leaning wall.

The weather guard continues up to the roof, as work on the eaves is also taking place behind it. Site manager Mansoor Ardam inspects the seaming work on the windows. A seam can only be approved if it is straight and shows no signs of additional notches. The elastic mass adheres best to a dry, clean surface.

At the end on January, the worksite prepared for the installation of the third-floor facade windows on the sunset side too, on the building’s western facade. At first, glass pillars that support the surface windows were installed. When the glass pillars are tightly attached to their steel fittings, the up to nine-metre tall and 1,500 kilo multi-floor windows can be lifted in place with the help of a suction cup lift.

Heaters will be hidden from view

In the midst of the freezing winter, the average person may wonder how the aquarium-like third floor can be kept warm, when all the walls are made of glass, from the floor to the ceiling. The professionals have come up with a perfect solution, which also happens to be an aesthetic one too. No water-filled radiators will be installed in front of the windows so that they do not break the visual cohesion of the glass walls.

“The space is heated by narrow convectors installed under the installation floor that blow warm air at the lower edge of the glass,” Mansoor Ardam explains, showing how the draught-prevention solution will be built in front of the windows. The technology will be installed on the concrete floor, which will be covered with an installation floor. A library user can step right up to the windows without having to dodge the radiators.

In the computer modelling, the convectors are shown as the low red blocks below the windows. A great deal of building technology will be hidden between the roof and the suspended ceiling on the third floor: the ventilation pipeline is show in green, the sprinkler system in turquoise and the electric cables in purple. Only the sprinkler nozzles will be visible after the third floor’s wavy suspended ceiling has been installed.

The suspended ceiling, which is shown in the image as the neon green structure, will be installed at a notably low level compared to the height of the ceiling, due to the large amount of building technology. A maintenance bridge will be fitted over it, for example, and its installation work is now starting.

Partition walls reveal the room structure

Whilst the third floor is an open space, the second floor is filled in with different rooms. Their walls will be built based on the room’s purpose of use, either from glass, bricks or gypsum board. Right now, the gypsum walls are being built at a quick pace.

About half of the second floor gypsum walls have been finished. The corridor in the photo leads to the game rooms. The second floor brings the traditional library institution into a new era. It will house two general recording and editing rooms, a photography and video studio, a room for playing instruments, a control room, a drum room, offices, meeting rooms, a media room and rooms for small groups. In addition to the building of partition walls, acoustic insulation wool is being installed and gypsum boards are being painted and plastered on the second floor.

Worksite mornings are kick-started with stick workouts

In relation to work life, how the older generation teaches the younger ones and passes on so-called silent knowledge is a common topic of discussion. However, the younger generations can also teach the older ones and introduce something completely new to their work life.

At the Oodi worksite, mornings are now started with stick workout at 7 o’clock! Stretching and squatting for a few minutes gets blood pumping and warms up the muscles. This habit increases occupational health and safety. The exercises make reactions and coordination abilities quicker and help maintain balance better. Over a dozen people may take part in the classes. Photo: Anniina Kallioniemi.

The exercises are guided by 23-year-old Essi Tuomenoja, recently graduated construction supervisor and YIT’s site manager.

“Even though the workers were at first hesitant about the exercises, in the end they even built the exercise sticks, i.e. broomsticks, their own transport crate with a sling attached,” she says.

Essi graduated as construction supervisor from Häme University of Applied Sciences, and before Oodi worksite, she worked at six different sites. She finds it fascinating that each project creates a monument, whether it is an industrial hall or a library.


Text and photos: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words

Bring in the electricity!

If Oodi only contained books, electrical installations would be simple. But this public living room offers its guests many special premises, from a cinema to studios, which makes electrical design and installations more challenging.

“The varying shapes of the spaces also bring added challenge: each space requires a specific approach. The plan can make things look simple, but they can be a great deal more demanding in practice,” says Janne Valtonen (left), the foreman of the electricians, and Seppo Kautto (right), project manager from ARE.

Work is also made more challenging by the fact that most Oodi premises do not have the suspended ceiling structure that hides the technology. Installations are left uncovered, which is why they must be made as neatly as possible. Electrician Ari Davidila installed the black cable racks on the second floor ceiling in December.

The cinema and studios are especially challenging spaces for electricity works. Their soundproofing requires unusual solutions for the inlets of electric cables.

“The cables can’t be installed as a bundle, we have to take them through the structures one by one, like wide-spread fingers, and soundproof them individually with the paste. In addition to this, we need to follow the acoustician’s specific instructions,” says Seppo Kautto.

Due to the soundproofing, the cinema and studio premises (pictured) will be equipped with a floating floor. The red Sylomer sound absorption mat has been installed on the concrete podiums. Its purpose is to separate the overlaying surface floor from the frame structure, absorbing the studio noise and preventing noise from carrying to or from the premises.

The Living Lab with its presentation technology is also counted as a special premise.

“Special electrical inputs are needed both for projectors and the room’s glass walls that can be darkened or opened electrically with a light,” says Janne Valtonen, explaining that the building’s electrical works are in their early stages.

“Even though the basement is 60–70% complete, only about 10% of the work on the second floor is ready. We are just getting started.”

The library will take up dozens of kilometres of electric cables Some of them can be hidden under the installation floor. The installation floor stands on its own feet and it will be installed over the concrete floor so that the technology is hidden between these two layers. This makes it easy to access the cables even after the building is fully completed.

Scale model of the suspended ceiling on the third floor

Unlike on other floors, the top floor of Oodi will be equipped with a suspended ceiling. The structure will be so unique that a scale model will be made of it at first.

A computer image shows the unusual, wavy form of the ceiling and the locations of the ceiling windows. The making of the approximately 6-metre-long scale model will begin after Epiphany, and an approval from the architecture agency will be sought for it before starting the construction of the actual ceiling.

The third floor is becoming a glorious kingdom of books and light. The green bars depict the future bookshelves. Light will flow in through both the wall-high facade windows and the ceiling lights. It has been decided that the pasting work of the facade windows will be carried out under weather protection. The protective cover will be installed before Christmas and the work will be started from the northern end. The space for the large steel spiral staircase is featured on the left. The stairs will be delivered to the site at the beginning of the year.

Unisex toilet in the basement

When a building houses a cinema and a restaurant as well as meeting and working premises, it also has to have enough toilet facilities. These requirements have been taken into account in the plans.

Toilets are available on every floor, but the primary public toilet facilities are in the basement. The toilet facilities have not been divided based on gender, which means that they are unisex toilets. Visitors can access the basement both on lifts and by the concrete spiral staircase. The spiral of the staircase is almost a work of art on its own.

There are over 20 toilet cubicles in the basement, so the lines should not be too long. The sinks and seats will be installed after the floor is cast. It was completed in mid-December. The facilities have underfloor heating, which keeps the moisture levels in check.

Cleaning up the facade

The installation of the facade elements was started on the western side of the building in December.

Before starting the installation, a few element supports were modified by welding them. The steel constructions are equipped with mounts for the elements, so the elements are quick to install.

One element at a time is lifted on its supports with the help of a frame such as this. The elements will be later equipped with wooden framing to ensure that air circulates well behind the final wood cladding.

The facade will be covered similar to the pictured northern end. The 280-mm-thick ready-made elements will be covered by the wood cladding and they act as thermal insulation and vapour barrier.

New generation of worksite management

Work site managers are sought-after people on different worksites, and a new work site manager intern has also been found for Oodi: Jarno Silén, student of production management of building technology from Häme University of Applied Sciences.

“I have been interested in building and making things by hand ever since I was a child, following in the footsteps of my father and uncle. Oodi is an interesting site. I will learn a lot here,” Jarmo said on his first day of work.



Text and photos: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words

Lifting facade windows with a rare suction lifter

In November, the lifting of the facade windows of Oodi’s upper floor into place was started using a suction lifter, which was custom-made for the library worksite. One heavy, multi-floor glass window after another, the device latched onto the windows and lifted them to the northern end of the building, where the installation work was started.

The manufacturer and installer of the windows, Estonia-based Windoor AS, commissioned the lifting equipment from Italy in order to ensure that the windows, each weighing about as much as a car, could be installed steadily and safely. When a 1,000–1,500 kilo, fragile object with a slippery surface is hanging above the ground, there is no room for even the smallest of slips. Photo: Mansoor Ardam.

“When installing the windows, we will proceed systematically, one block and one side at a time. From the northern end, the installation will continue towards the eastern side, where the lined windows have already mostly been installed,” says Tero Seppänen, YIT’s senior site manager (left).

The lined windows are a relatively standard construction element, but the third-floor facade windows are, both in size and with regard to the installation method, the most exceptional Tero Seppänen and site manager Mansoor Ardam (right) have faced during their careers.

At the northern end, the glass wall is nearly eight metres tall, and at the western and eastern sides it reaches its peak height: over nine metres. A solid glass layer will also be installed above the large surface glass layer in order to cover the eaves. The entire work phase, including puttying, will last until late spring.

“Puttying requires very specific conditions, since the surfaces to be treated cannot be damp. The work is mostly carried out when the weather permits or under weather protection. We are currently considering our options. We will also carry out tests and confirm the quality of the seams by sending test samples to the putty manufacturer,” Seppänen and Ardam explain.

During the initial installation stage, the individual glass sheets will remain in place thanks to mechanical attachment parts. The 16 suction cups of the special lifter will hold the glass up until it can be attached. At the next stage, the seams will be made water-tight and structural seaming of the corners will be carried out. Photo: Mansoor Ardam.

The surface windows will be supported on glass pillars that, in turn, have been fitted into steel slots. The Finnish weather conditions have been taken into account in the surface window’s structure and pattern: The multilayer window conserves heat in the winter and the printed pattern lessens the direct sun glare in the summer.

The upper part of the windows is solid and white, but towards the lower part it becomes dotted, imitating falling snow. The pattern thins out gradually and the lower part of the glass is clear and transparent. Worksite manager Mansoor Ardam points at the snowfall print. He has made a computer tool that allows for control and monitoring of the installation.

The skylights have also been installed into their octagonal niches, and the roof’s insulation work has been completed. The insulation board walls on the third floor will be replaced by glass one by one, drastically changing the appearance of the entire space.

Customer-friendly solutions

The northern end also features a special window design on the ground level; a small entrance hall to the family library and a storage space for prams will soon be built behind the triangle-shaped window. The needs of children have been carefully considered when planning the space, as the family library will also feature a small kitchen and a space for eating snacks.

The northern entrance is also an easy way to reach the cinema’s foyer, the meeting and public spaces and the café-restaurant. The vehicle entrance to the underground premises is located next to the entrance hall.

Building technology work is constantly progressing in the different blocks and more and more partition walls are being built. Here, workers can be seen consulting electrification plans.

The balcony was put through a pressure test

A pressure test was carried out for the balcony in late November. Its purpose was to discover any possible leaks before the concrete slab casting taking place in December.

“The drains on the balcony were sealed and 200 millilitres of water was conducted onto the surface in order to discover the spots that needed to be made water-tight. The joints and seams of drains and pipes were also tested separately. The surface cannot be cast until the structure is water-tight. A wooden structure will later be built on the concrete slab,” Tero Seppänen explains.

On the western side of the building, the insulation work for the building’s base as well as land construction work were carried out in late November. A concrete slab will be cast along the building’s wall and will be covered by the final paving.

Site manager has no fear of the square and cubic metres

The main contractor YIT has received some reinforcements. Hannu Heikkinen, originally from Rovaniemi but now enjoying his fifth year in the south, is in charge of the building technology and its coordination. The electrical power engineer has worked in the real estate field for 35 years, and has been involved in the construction of residential and office buildings, production premises and the office building of a mine in the north, but Oodi is turning into the largest worksite in his entire career.

“The size of this project does not intimidate me, since it’s all about teamwork. Coordinating the interfaces between the different building technology operators can be challenging, but it becomes easier when you work with team players,” says Heikkinen, who, in his spare time, takes part in moose hunts and also acts as a trainer at the National Defence Training Association of Finland.



Text and photos: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words


One woman’s logistics centre

Managing material streams on a narrow plot in the middle of the city is one of the challenges of the Oodi worksite. When dozens of loads arrive on the site every day, a frequently heard question is ‘where should we put these?’ The site’s wonder woman, Heidi Järvensivu, i.e. the site manager in charge of logistics, knows the answer. She adapts her instructions to the worksite’s situation: where the goods are needed, how soon  they will be needed and where there is enough space for them. The loads are taken to their correct spots in the yard or directly to the right blocks on the different floors.

“I have to always be one step ahead of the construction and consider logistics a few days in advance. I have to stay on top of the loads, building schedule and building layout at the same time. My goal is for the goods to only be moved once; they should be taken to the correct place right away,” Heidi says, with her 10 years of logistics experience backing her up.

Because there is a street on the eastern side of the building, only the western side can be used for storing goods. A small part of Kansalaistori square is also utilised as storage space. In October, one of the loads that arrived contained a large shipment of bricks for the brickwork of the rooms. They are shown as the white pile in the middle of the lower part of the photo. Space is needed for many different goods, such as timber and pipes, ventilation and electrics installation equipment and, more and more, for the facade windows.

Heidi Järvensivu greets the drivers at the different gates. In addition to drivers bringing in loads, she gives driving instructions to drivers of, for example, concrete mixer trucks and pump trucks, as well as various crane and lifting vehicles. Heidi has grown into her position through experience, and she is a great example of entrepreneurship and problem solving.

“For years, I worked as a transport coordinator and after that as a construction painter and tiler. I noticed the same problem on many different worksites: goods were left waiting in the wrong places, communications did not work and no one managed the logistics. I decided to set up a business in the field myself and found another female entrepreneur as my partner. Local Logistics offers logistic and worksite services, which also include waste management coordination and worksite supervision. On the Oodi worksite, we work under the main developer, YIT.”

Oodi has an unusual shape, not only with regard to construction but also from the perspective of logistics. The public balcony restricts lifting of the goods, and there is a long distance between the north and south ends. It is not possible to store goods in front of the building, as the area must be kept clear for various vehicles and cranes. At this stage, the public balcony is waiting for surface concrete casting. The casting of the second-floor seating area seen behind the balcony has been completed, and the scaffolding that has supported the area has been taken down.

A freight elevator was installed at the southern end of the building in October, making it easier to transport goods to the different floors. The elevator will become more and more crucial as the facade is closed during the construction work’s progress.

Only insulation needed on the roof

The short-term objective is to insulate the building and keep its temperature above zero. In many places, expanded polystyrene insulation sheets are used in place of walls. They tolerate moisture well and act as excellent thermal insulation.

The EPS foam sheets are also used as walls on the third floor, although they will later be replaced by floor-to-ceiling windows. The third floor is reserved for books. It looks more closed off now, as the elements of the roof have been installed along the entire building.

The Oodi roof has a low ridge, and on both sides of it the roof rises and falls like waves. The curving forms were built using cut-to-shape elements nearly a metre thick. YIT’s site manager Mansoor Ardam supervised the installation work on the bitumen membrane insulation at the end of October.

The waves and ridges of the roof as well as its several skylights made the membrane installation process challenging. The membrane is attached to the surface by heating it with a gas burner.

Facade windows follow the curves of the roof

The wavy form of the roof also affects the measurements of the third-floor facade windows. Their height varies, following the rising and falling shape of the roof. The tallest, over nine-metre high windows will be installed in the eastern and western facades. They will be assembled from several elements.

“The installation work will begin from the building’s northern end. We have acquired special equipment for the lifting work, and the suction cups needed were manufactured in Italy. One, a couple of metres tall and similarly wide glass weighs a little over 1,000 kilos. From the north, the installation work will progress to the east wall,” says Mansoor Ardam.

The windows will be installed into the steel slots shown at the bottom of the photo. Estonian firm Windoor AS will both manufacture the windows and procure the printed pattern for them. The new library could not have more wonderful surroundings: the northern windows have a view of the Finlandia Hall and its park.

The window installation work on the second floor has progressed a little faster. The lined windows were installed in the northern wall in October. The installation of the walls’ thermal insulation progressed quickly from the northern end to the eastern wall. The work there has been completed and will next move towards the south.



Text and pictures: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words

Reshape 2017 library conference looked bravely into the future

The international library conference, 21–22 September, focused on people and spaces. What kinds of library spaces are ideal now, when the relationship between people and the library is transforming?

Library professionals from, for example, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Latvia, France, Belgium, Norway, Russia, Estonia and Iceland attended the Reshape conference to tell the stories of their new libraries. Naturally, representatives of Oodi, currently under construction, were also among the participants.

The guiding idea behind the conference was compassion and the library’s role as a provider and generator of compassion. The speech by Professor Anne Birgitta Pessi focused on compassion in a public space. It is important how people behave in a space they share with others; what their active role in relation to others is.

An atmosphere of trust and positivity encourages innovations, wellbeing, joy, creativity and development of cognitive skills – everything that the library wants to promote. Pessi reminds people that compassion is infectious!

Anne Birgitta Pessi believes that the skill of compassion shapes public spaces

Anne Birgitta Pessi believes that the skill of compassion shapes public spaces

Shared soundscape

Citizens will make libraries into their own spaces. As a public space, the library is an institute that best promotes a sense of togetherness – all visitors own it, together. The sense of togetherness is created easily also between different libraries, regardless of country or nationality.

Both joys and problems are universal. For example, the conference brought up the challenging soundscape of reforming libraries, the adaptability of library premises, robotics, new staff arrangements, multiculturalism and virtual technology.

Many of the speakers touched upon the soundscapes of flexible spaces. Meri Kytö from the University of Tampere played examples of library sounds from a tape and talked about customer expectations. What should a library sound like? Everything we do makes a noise. Sound is a communication tool, and many sounds have a certain function.

Before, libraries were monumental institutions where the most popular word was ‘shhhh’. Now, they are changing into urban café milieus, even though many still long for silent spaces. The staff should listen to the sounds of their library and the feedback from the customers and carry out concrete, often quite small measures to achieve a more pleasant soundscape.

Technology as a helping hand

The end of the 2010s is a time of rapid development. During the conference days, the visitors had the opportunity to visit Oodi, in an experience provided by virtual glasses. Sakari Salli spoke about how virtual modelling can be used as a part of the design process. VR-Oodi also offers a look at the outdoor areas, presenting the future of Töölönlahti.

Sakari Salli presents how virtual technology enables showing how sunlight would look, shining through the library windows.

Sakari Salli presents how virtual technology enables showing how sunlight would look, shining through the library windows.

Cristina Andersson’s fascinating speech concerning robotics opened up new perspectives. Due to their expensiveness, robots have become a part of the service structure at a slower pace than expected. However, Andersson says that technology will arrive faster than we realise.

People are worried about whether robots will take our jobs. According to Andersson, the teachable robots will work alongside humans, learning from us. People will always find work. The duty of robots is to be efficient: they can process massive amounts of data, do not have vacations, are able to cope without coffee, always stay healthy and do not complain behind others’ backs.

Cristina Andersson presented the robot experiments around the world. Robot technology will be introduced also in Finnish libraries in the near future.

Cristina Andersson presented the robot experiments around the world. Robot technology will be introduced also in Finnish libraries in the near future.

Sara Jorgensen from Herning library in Denmark presented a new digital library model, in which the website has its own library host or hostess and where the books are presented like in a Netflix selection, available for browsing and loaning.

Peer encouragement

The highlights of the conference were the speeches by library representatives from different countries. It is useful to compare the development of our Oodi to that of other new libraries.

The speech by Sanne Caft from the Copenhagen main library was thought-provoking. ‘The Copenhagen model’ is strict and based on heavy-handed trimming. The staff simplifies and redesigns everything, learns to say no to unnecessary assignments, adapts new roles at a quick pace and reduces face-to-face service. They must be flexible in everything.

In many libraries, such as Dokk-1 in Aarhus, Denmark, people have noticed that both partners and visitors challenge the library all the time. Masses of people and the adaptability of the building are not easy to control. Krist Biebauw from Ghent library in Belgium mentioned a fact brought up by many others: the customers’ paths inside the buildings have surprised the designers. They are often contrary to expectations.

In the end, even in all the new libraries, it is all about a group of stories. Nizar Keblawi from Malmö spoke about story workshops with immigrant children and Marian Morgan-Bindon, our farthest guest from Gold Coast in Australia, about the sense of community in their large country.

Stories will remain a part of libraries because we create new ones ourselves. Chief Librarian Hólmkell Hreinsson from Akureyri in Iceland summarised the entire conference with one sentence: “Libraries change, but the human heart stays the same.” We want to be together, as a part of the story.

See all the conference addresses:

Text: Siru Valleala
Main picture of Meri Kytö: Sampo Matikainen/Hanna Hopea

Breathe easy in Oodi

The new library is being built according to modern construction requirements. Besides being built of wood, glass and steel, Oodi also follows strict building engineering standards to guarantee a comfortable visiting experience in terms of the air quality inside the building. The highest possible purity classification requirement has been set for the indoor air quality. Due to this fact, the builders are now working in clean and healthy indoor air and the library users will be able to visit a building with clean indoor air.

In the computational modelling, ventilation pipes are visible as thick and white. Altogether, 20% of the pipe installation work has been finished. The installation of the main pipelines for other building engineering works has continued at a faster pace as over 70% of their installation is now complete. HVAC planning has been carried out by Ramboll, and the contractor is Are.

“The strict purity classification P1 requires that no impurities are released in the air ventilation system during the construction phase and that the system complies with the highest indoor air quality requirements at the time of the transfer of the building. We are following these standards now, and it feels so clean that you could even set up a hospital in these library premises”, laughs Tony Lindholm, Are project manager responsible for building engineering. His computer screen displays ventilation pipes that were recently installed on the second floor.

Due to the purity classification requirements, the basement premises have been vacuumed and equipped with machines that absorb unclean air via High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. Mansoor Ardam, head of unit at YIT, examines the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner.

All machines are equipped with dust removing technology and overpressure and vacuum blowers. In operational tests the machines will be tested with a gel tape system, which will show any particles remaining on top of the gel. Mansoor Ardam presents one of the ventilation units.

Even the painters are working for better indoor air quality

A room cannot receive the status of purity classification P1 unless its surfaces are dust sealed. This job is carried out by the painter. Master Painter Pasi Kalliokoski from Lainisalo Rakennusmaalaus Oy has been working at the Oodi construction site since this summer.

“To achieve P1 classification, all rooms and shafts must be dust sealed. This is done using water-soluble paint or varnish. All products have the highest possible environmental classification, M1 and CE marking”, says Pasi as he marks a constructed wall that needs to be smoothed.

M1 means that the product has been tested in a neutral laboratory, and it does not release any chemical emissions into the indoor air. CE marking indicates conformity with EU directives.


Lately, Pasi’s tasks have included the spray-painting of the second floor ceiling black. Building engineering systems installed in the ceiling will be painted black at a later stage. The pipes are covered with paint as false ceilings will not be utilised. For the time being, Pasi works on his own. More painters will be needed as soon as new dividing walls have been erected. The contract includes all smoothing and painting work in the library.

The first facade elements have been installed

In September, the first facade elements were installed in the northern end of Oodi. Half a dozen elements at a time were transported by truck.

At this stage, the elements installed are the ones that will be covered with the final timber cladding. The current elements are readymade plates with a thickness of 280 mm, and they include thermal insulation and a vapour barrier. The steel constructions were equipped with mounts for the elements, so the plates were quick to install. Photo: Mansoor Ardam.

At a later stage, these elements will be covered with a timber framing, on top of which the final timber cladding will be put in place. Framing guarantees air flow under the wooden timber cladding and acts as reinforcement for the base. The facade elements are supplied by the Estonian company Timbeco Woodhouse OÜ. The same company is responsible for the production of the roof elements.

The thermal insulation of the facade with elements continues from north to east, i.e. towards the direction of Töölönlahdenkatu. After that, the works will continue at the southern end, which is now protected with plastic sheets. The last steps will be taken at the western end, in the direction of Kansalaistori Square, as this is the section through which all the building materials are brought into the building.

The idea behind the timetable – steady progress and smooth operatio

The scale, size and uniqueness of the new library make project management a challenging task. Every step and phase must follow on logically and smoothly from the last, even though unprecedented solutions are also needed sometimes.

The basis of the construction process lies in the carefully planned construction timetable, which ensures that the main contractor and the dozens of subcontractors work as planned.

“We manage the timetable with a system that is better known as Location-Based Management System, i.e. LBMS. In every separate area, all work stages are carried out one after the other, and the area is finished in one go”, says Mansoor Ardam. The YIT slogan has also been printed on the back of the workers’ shirts.

Besides the computer program, colourful Post-it notes are used, covering the walls of the negotiation room. They all summarise the progress week by week.

The idea of LBMS is to minimise all unnecessary waiting periods. For example, as the bricklayers finish their work in one sector, the painters will quickly follow and start their work. Each work group moves from one site to another within the construction site, and everyone works at the right place at the right time. Therefore, many work stages are in progress simultaneously, and the construction of the building progresses steadily.


Text and pictures: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words

Massive roof element puzzle

The first roof elements have been erected in the northern end of Oodi. Piecing them together has been a giant jigsaw puzzle of rectangles and triangles, but it isn’t the lightest of jobs: the elements are 12 metres long and almost a metre thick. Their widths vary, but they all weigh thousands of kilos.

‘We’ve only been able to bring two or three elements at a time to the site. The largest of them weigh eight tonnes,’ says YIT’s senior site manager Tero Seppänen.

In late August and early September, a pink gypsum board was installed onto the elements, to function as fire retardant. The gypsum board will later be covered by the ceiling. At the same time, an architectural structure typical of the indoor area of the northern end, the balcony which can be seen in the background, was being built on the third floor.


The roof elements were lowered into the supports waiting in the steel structures and screwed into their places. The Estonian Timbeco Woodhouse Oü was responsible for manufacturing the elements, and has now started installation work. The elements were cut to shape at the Timberpoint Oy factory in Loviisa.

The elements were prepared in detail: places were even prepared for the skylights, such as the octagonal recess in the picture. In the seaming phase, the long sides of the elements are filled with a special urethane foam, and the short sides with mineral wool. It must be ensured that the top part of the seam is not too tight, because the wooden structure of the roof must be able to breathe.

Separate drainage wells on the balcony

The balcony is now waiting for the surface work, i.e. the concrete casting and waterproofing, to start. After those are finished, the surface tiling and wooden upholstery can be put up.

In order to prevent the balcony from becoming slippery, electrically heated drainage wells are installed within the structure. They will not freeze in the winter, allowing water to run off the balcony quickly.

On the third floor of the library, preparations are being made for the installation of the glass facade panels. Support structures for them are being built in the northern end. YIT’s site manager Mansoor Ardam shows the supports behind the balcony, where the floor-to-ceiling glass panels are to be installed.

Casting the final part of the concrete floor on the southern end of the third floor in late August proved to be quite a task. The casting had to be done in one go, which took from 5 am to 8 pm. Over 200 cubic metres of concrete was used for the end part.

Floor casting is done on the second floor, but the fields of hollow-core slabs on the sitting area, which rise in steps, will be completed by stairs which will be cast in place. Concrete dust was vacuumed from the area from time to time.

Here, supports are being installed for the wall structures on the second floor, where the partitions will soon be built. Ceilings and floor surface materials will also soon be installed.

Final tightening of the anchoring cable

The work on the frame has now come so far that the anchoring cables running in the bull blocks of the steel arches which support the library could now be tightened for the third and final time.

This will bring the bridge arches to their full bearing capability. The picture shows the northern housing structure of the arches, along with its steel slabs.

The cables were tightened using a hydraulic jack, of which there are only two in all of Europe. One of these was borrowed in Finland for the use of E.M.Pekkinen Oy, who performed the tightening, for three days. After the tightening was done, the cables were cut off and the ends of the cable bunches plugged. Photo: Mansoor Ardam.

Site manager Mansoor Ardam wanted to find out how much the bull block moves during tightening. He placed two steel patches on the floor on either side of the seam. Using lines drawn, he noticed that the tightened slab had moved one centimetre compared to the untightened one. The expansion joints, which were previously left open on the first floor, can now be closed.

Floating movie theatre floor

Floor casting is a hot topic also in the first floor library movie theatre.

Due to acoustics, floating concrete slabs are used in the frame structure of the movie theatre. The yellow sound-absorbing Sylomer isolator separates the surface structure from the frame structure, preventing the sounds from the theatre from being conveyed to other parts of the building through the frame.

Interior materials on the drawing board

As the frame and floor castings are finished, the site can gradually turn its thoughts towards interior materials. Various brochures and samples on floor materials, for example, have gradually found their way to the construction site office.

According to Mansoor Ardam and Tero Seppänen, no decisions or agreements have been made yet, but preliminary discussions with various suppliers have taken place.

The interior materials will generate lots of discussion, with so many materials and colours to choose from. Practicality should meld with the visual values, and the overall look should please the public.

Summer’s still here, at least if you ask the hanging flower pot helmet. At the moment, approximately one hundred people are working with the construction of the library. The summer trainees were so good that YIT hired them as workers paid by the hour. As studying and work are combined, so too are theory and practice.


Text and pictures: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words

Full speed on all floors

Construction of the Oodi library has continued throughout the holiday season all around the building; from basement to ceiling structures. Installation, piping, welding, casting, and inspection work is proceeding hidden behind the walls, but a huge milestone visible even from the outside has been reached: the frame of the balcony is now complete. The balcony will open from the west side of the building, offering a unique view of the most valuable core of Helsinki.

The final seams of the balcony were welded during the two last weeks of July. There are many things that still need to be completed, including the surface structure over the steel plate elements. When finished, the balcony will offer an unrivalled panoramic view towards Kiasma, the Parliament of Finland, Helsinki Music Centre, and Finlandia Hall. The tower of the National Museum can also be seen on the horizon. Who wouldn’t enjoy this?

Seen from below, the steel structures that support the balcony can almost be considered works of art. However, they won’t be visible later: just like the rest of the steel structures of the building, they will be hidden underneath wood panelling. The frame is now complete, and inspections of its structures are ongoing. The welded seams of the grids are studied one by one using ultrasound, just like in the steel arches that support the building. Once the frame has been approved, it’s time for the façade elements, whose installation is already being prepared for on the site.

The north end is ahead of the south

Plastic coverings have been drawn over the outer walls of the north sector, to protect it from the rain, because that is where the first wood panels will be installed. That is also where work on the inside will begin.

‘The north end is ahead of the rest of the building, but we are working all the time on the entire building. Floor work is proceeding as planned all around; the hollow-core slabs are in place, and more than half of the floor surface has been cast. We intentionally left a few seams open where the bridge structure will be further tightened’, says Mansoor Ardam, YIT’s site manager.

The unique nature of the overall project requires excellent planning in advance, strict monitoring, and keeping to schedules from the general contractor.

‘In a unique project like this, every stage has its special nature and everything takes its time. We must make sure everyone sticks to the schedule, because sometimes little things can stall the entire progress in a way that makes it difficult to catch up. Systematisation does not work here. We cannot operate like a car factory: this is by no means conveyor work’, Ardam explains.

The building engineering with its several pipe-laying projects has progressed up from the basement during the summer. The pipes are now at the second floor, where their supports were being welded to the ceiling in July. At the same time, the basement floor is seeing fire retardant treatment of ventilation equipment.

The building engineering is so abundant that its computer modelling makes you think of a bigger institution: a layman might take the view to represent a factory or a ship. The combined model using data from the various planners shows how and where the many technical systems, such as ventilation pipes, run between the different spaces. The large triangle in the middle represents the opening to be left between the floors. Glass railings are to be installed around it, allowing visitors to take a look at the lower floors from above.

The first interior walls are being built on the second floor, which will host studio facilities, a computer class, rentable work rooms, as well as office and negotiation facilities.

Some rooms will have dead partition walls and thorough soundproofing, while others will have glass walls. At the moment, the structures shown above the glass in the picture are being built.

Massive stairs coming up

Large, curved steel stairs will be installed in the middle of the building to bind the three floors together from the lobby. They will make an impressive element, which will also help people to navigate around the building.

The second floor will host a wide area with seats, which will rise upwards in small steps. The steel stairs will be located near this area, in the round opening. The grids and pillars of the building’s frame will be left partially visible, but with panelling.

A huge opening through the different floors is waiting for the 75-tonne stairs to be completed. The stairs are being made by Normek Oy, the company behind the steel arches that support the building. The installation of the stairs is expected to take place in December.

Attitude is everything, even in construction

Site manager Mansoor Ardam has his own philosophy regarding construction and the progress of the project. He quotes an Afghan saying, according to which the one with the brains of 40 ministers in his pocket is the one who will win the game.

‘The participants in any construction project must consider everything in advance, and commit to doing their best. Hindsight doesn’t help anyone. Everyone must be capable of making decisions, and matters shouldn’t be bounced from one person to the next. In construction, there is always someone who doesn’t mind something being left hanging. However, the site can’t wait. Not even a single screw can be left waiting for someone else to decide. The attitude is what counts; don’t do your best – do whatever it takes!


Text and pictures: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words


Computer modelling images: structural engineering and HPAC planning by Ramboll, architectural planning ALA-arkkitehdit.

The residents’ living room awaits a roof

Following midsummer, the Oodi worksite is at a turning point, as both the roof structures and the works on the frame are almost ready. The first roof elements will arrive at the site during June.

“The steel frame of the building will be ready as planned by mid-July”, state YIT’s site manager Mansoor Ardam (left) and senior site manager Tero Seppänen. The construction site office screen behind them shows a live image of the entire Oodi site from above.

As the message on Kansalaistori says, Oodi will become the second living room to its visitors. For now, the rain still falls free on the living room floor, but one by one, the white steel structures on the third floor are being covered by a roof and surrounded by the glass facade panels.

“The roof is made of wood: it consists of laminated veneer lumber elements with a bitumen felt surface. The thermal insulation, for example, is built into the elements, which makes them almost one metre thick. The slightly curved shape of the roof is created during the installation of the elements, which are cut to shape at the factory”, Mansoor Ardam says.

The facade on the third floor is entirely made of glass. A model piece of glass represents the visual idea of the third floor: from the top, the glass is entirely white, turning clearer little by little towards the bottom. Or, as Ardam creatively explains, it has a solid cover of snow up high, with snow falling downwards, before finally the view clears. Perhaps the thought of snow in the middle of summer is what made the men so serious?

First, the roof must be made steady

A fair amount of jangling could be heard on the Oodi site around midsummer. The new soundscape comes from the tightening of the white steel structures of the roof.

During installation, the roof beams were left slightly loose, so as to give in when necessary during assembly. The joints were later tightened one bolt at a time. The installer, working from a manlift, used an impact wrench, which caused the clattering heard in the surrounding area.

Due to the work being done on the roof and balcony, lately the front of the building has been bustling with cranes and manlifts. The largest crane, the 300-tonne Havator tracked lattice boom crane, which runs on caterpillar tracks, will soon have finished its job. The blue-and-yellow Havator came to the site in January for the installation of the steel arches that support the building, and it has also been used for lifting the steel roof parts. The Havator will be dismantled in July.

A balcony, which will be open to all visitors, will be built on the west side of the library, towards Kansalaistori. The steel gratings to support the balcony were installed in the middle of the building in June. The beams rose lightly on the crane’s chains, but brawn was needed to guide them to a suitable angle to be attached.

At the moment, a whole jumble of support towers stand under the steel arches, supporting the casting moulds above them. The moulds and support towers can be removed once the horizontal concrete vault has been cast and has dried enough to support the structures. The concrete cast-on-site vaults will also play a part in supporting the steel arches.

The even floor is actually curved

Most of the floors of the library are made from hollow-core slabs and fields formed from them. The hollow-core slabs have been used in both public and residential buildings since the 1970s, as they are a fast way of creating large surfaces.

As the name suggests, hollow-core slabs are hollow, containing longitudinal cavities which make the slabs significantly lighter than solid slabs, even though they are made of reinforced concrete. The hollows can also be used for electric cables, for example. A pretensioned steel braid is running along the bottom of the slabs, which allows the slabs to be tensioned to increase their load bearing capacity.

“The tensioned cables make the slab curve a little. Even though the fields of hollow-core slabs look even, they are actually slightly curved”, Tero Seppänen explains.

Almost all of the hollow-core slabs are already in their places. The field of slabs that form the base of the upper floor also function as the ceiling for the lower floor. The seams of the individual hollow-core slabs are now being cast to make one big field.

The floors are already being cast in the north end of the building. Here, the floor of the ventilator room is being levelled after concrete casting. In addition to the basement floor, there are ventilator rooms on the 1M level.

Building engineering work in the basement has proceeded smoothly. 90 per cent of the work on the main pipelines is already done, and the installation of the ventilators is well underway. Various pipes will soon be led to the upper floors in shafts. ARE’s electrician Aarno Lehtinen (left) held a meeting with YIT’s site manager Janne Kurikka and site engineer Ville Nevala in the construction site office, because the installation of the cable trays is ongoing.


Text and pictures: Liisa Joensuu/Tmi Magic Words