About

The first public libraries in Finland were financed by private fund-raising and patrons of the library institution. The library institution served a noble cause and their architecture was to reflect societal aspirations and a solemn belief in education.

Although many of the old library buildings have become obsolete because of their location or rigid spatial arrangements, equally many have been renovated to serve the functional needs of a modern library. Rikhardinkatu Library and Kallio Library in Helsinki are examples of library architecture that has adapted to constant changes without losing the original, affecting atmosphere.

Rikhardinkatu Library was the first library building in Finland built for public library use.

The text is from the chapter ‘Hope and Pleasure’ of Mind-Building, Finland’s exhibition at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

Location

Rikhardinkatu 3, Helsinki
60.1661552, 24.9463226

Images

1890, Rikhardinkatu Library
1890, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Helsinki City Museum)
Reading room 1924, Rikhardinkatu Library
Reading room 1924, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Helsinki City Museum)
Young clients at library in 1924, Rikhardinkatu Library
Young clients at library in 1924, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Eric Sundström / Helsinki City Museum)
Basement floor, Rikhardinkatu Library
Basement floor, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Theodor Höjer 1879 / Museum of Finnish Architecture)
Ground floor, Rikhardinkatu Library
Ground floor, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Theodor Höjer 1879 / Museum of Finnish Architecture)
Section, Rikhardinkatu Library
Section, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Theodor Höjer 1879 / Museum of Finnish Architecture)
Elevation towards Rikhardinkatu, Rikhardinkatu Library
Elevation towards Rikhardinkatu, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Theodor Höjer 1879 / Museum of Finnish Architecture)
Elevation towards Rikhardinkatu, Rikhardinkatu Library
Elevation towards Rikhardinkatu, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Theodor Höjer 1879 / Museum of Finnish Architecture)
Elevation towards Rikhardinkatu, Rikhardinkatu Library
Elevation towards Rikhardinkatu, Rikhardinkatu Library (© Theodor Höjer 1879 / Museum of Finnish Architecture)