6 / 2012 - library

Libraries are important welfare state services available to everyone. Books and architecture intertwine when art critic Otso Kantokorpi tells us about his life in libraries: “A big library is a heretic’s world.” It creates an eclectic atmosphere, and these days I am fairly certain that both heretical and eclectic qualities are essential to creativity.” In its ideal state, a library is a place where memories and generations – and eventually the entire imaginable world – collide. Author Martti Anhava writes in his column about the realm of books. “A wall covered with books is probably the least aggressive and the most sympathetic indication of power.” Anhava appreciates the charm of the dusty chambers of an old library: focused knowledge enjoys the company of its own light.

Two new landmark buildings have joined Finland’s wide network of libraries. Both reflect the vitality of our contemporary architecture. The new main library of the University of Helsinki was constructed in the city centre in a bustling urban environment. In Seinäjoki, Alvar Aalto’s renowned cultural centre was extended with a new bold construction. The red-bricked Kaisa and the Seinäjoki library dressed in copper differ in their appearance but share the same qualities of functional diversity and open space. Even if the significance of books as a source of knowledge is transforming, library architecture seems to be doing just fine.


architects Arkkitehtitoimisto Järvinen & Kuorelahti Oy
address Tupoksentie 5, Liminka
gross area 1 441 m2
completion 2012

review Virve Väisänen

architects JKMM Architects
address Alvar Aallon katu 14, Seinäjoki
gross area 4 430 m2
completion 2012
original building Alvar Aalto, 1965

review Heikki Aitoaho

Näköislehti: Site Logic