The key point of reference for the new library design was its location in the valuable environment of the civic centre created by Aalto – a masterpiece of modern architecture. The aim was to initiate a dialogue between the new and the old part.
Dividing the new building into three sculpture-like sections was an important insight that helped to reconcile its large volume with the scale of the Aalto centre. On the other hand, it discreetly keeps distance from the outlines and materials of the old civic centre. The dark copper of the facades stands out from the whiteness of the surrounding Aalto buildings.
The multifarious interior spaces merge into each other in an open plan, opening up carefully designed views.
At the core of the new building’s interior design is a large central reading terrace, a venue for events and a place for spending time, which leads the visitor to the collections downstairs and, through a subterranean passage, to the old library.
The building comprises a cast-in-place concrete structure that lent itself to the sculpture-like design. The panoramic, unobstructed views across the interiors were achieved by using challenging long-span beams similar to those used in bridge structures. The visual look is dominated by cast concrete surfaces aiming for an unfussy, rough feel produced by using uneven plank moulds and by leaving the surfaces unfinished after casting.
The perspective of sustainable development was taken into account in the design solutions. The high-quality building materials have a long life span. The compact overall shape, good thermal insulation values of the shell and air conditioning system with heat recovery guarantee that the building has a high energy efficiency value. In order to minimise the need for cooling, all large windows face north, minimising thermal loading from the sun.
Cross area 4 300m2, size of the site 24 200m2
Teemu Kurkela, Asmo Jaaksi, Juha Mäki-Jyllilä, Samuli Miettinen
Aaro Martikainen, Päivi Meuronen, Teemu Toivio
City / Country
Seinäjoki / Finland