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Rotunda

The construction of Rotunda, the annex to the library designed as a book repository, was commenced in 1902 and it was taken into use in 1906–07. Rotunda has six floors above ground. Shelves for 200,000 volumes were placed radially on all floors around the elliptical open middle space.  All structures in Rotunda were designed to be fireproof, using a steel frame and reinforced concrete. For its time, the building is extremely modern, one of the first of its kind in Finland. The inside stairs are of reinforced concrete, window frames and the supporting structures of the extensive glass ceiling are iron, while the windows are string inserted glass. The architect Gustaf Nyström, matched the appearance of Rotunda seamlessly with the old part of the library, while the architectural details absolutely represent the style of the early-20th century. The exterior walls are covered at the height of the heads of the supporting columns with a series of symbols of various sciences, the liveliest ones made by the sculptor Walter Runeberg.

Image: Rotunda’s façade drawing. Gustaf Nyström c. 1905