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HELSINKI – The Helsinki city council approved the project plan for the Central Library with 75 votes in favour and 8 against late on Wednesday evening.

The government has pledged itself to contribute 30 million euros. The costs of the building amount to 96 million euros and the total costs of the project to 98 million euros.

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Illustration: ALA Architects’

Modern wood design

The Central Library, a wooden building, designed by ALA Architects’ with relaxed, broad strokes is is going to be a citizens’ space or, to be precise, a centre for digital information and a variety of activities. The library will rise next to Töölönlahti, near the Music Centre, Kiasma contemporary art museum and the Parliament House.

The building will include pop-up exhibitions, a meeting area, gallery, multi-purpose hall, café-restaurant, family library and even a cinema.

The former culture minister, Paavo Arhinmäki, called on Facebook green-lighting the project, “A wonderful decision, which has been talked since Finland became independent (in 1917).”

The library has been labelled a project honouring the centennial anniversary of Finland’s independence.

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Illustration: ALA Architects’

Doors planned to open in 2018

The decision approving the project plan is also a permission to start construction. Future decisions are normal execution and they are made at lower levels.

”The Central Library is now a reality,” Ritva Viljanen, the deputy mayor, said in a bulletin.

”We are going to put the project out to tender as soon as possible in order to be able to start work on a building for the Central Library in the autumn.”

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The residents will be able to participate in the planning of the services and functions.

The doors are planned to be opened in late 2018.