This video journey through Kaisa Library presents user perspectives on Helsinki University’s Main Library designed by Anttinen-Oiva Architects.
Who are the building’s users?
Why do they find it appealing?
What does user-centric design mean? How does it show?
What can we learn from Kaisa House?
Occupying Kaisa House in the city centre, the Helsinki University Main Library by Anttinen-Oiva Architects was completed in 2012 and has been embraced enthusiastically by students and city residents from day one. The building has also received unanimous positive feedback from the architectural community. It is popular among its users as an appealing place to work, study and lend material.
The library has a very high utilization rate. Its 1,385 seats are packed with readers from morning to night, offering a variety of options from open sofa lounges to quiet workspaces. The first spots snapped up in the morning are the window seats, which offer panoramic views over downtown Helsinki.
Background of the exhibition
This user-focused introduction to Helsinki University’s Main Library was produced by two architecture undergraduates from Aalto University, Antti Auvinen and Marja Rautaharju. The exhibition forms part of an ongoing collaboration between architecture undergraduates and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
The project came together in the autumn term of 2014 as an assignment for the Aalto University architecture faculty’s Presenting Architecture master class, which encouraged students to find new tools and perspectives for presenting architecture. The students were given the task of staging an exhibition on the architecture of Anttinen-Oiva Architects, without any restrictions on their chosen method. The user-centric concept suggested by Antti Auvinen and Marja Rautaharju was selected as having the best potential for realization.
The Presenting Architecture master class was taught by Professor Mikko Heikkinen, Lecturer Jenni Reuter and Tuomas Siitonen.

Image: Antti Auvinen and Marja Rautaharju