The building in the southern Finnish town of Kirkkonummi has doubled in size and gained a striking new copper shingle facade
Kirkkonummi, a municipality outside the Finnish capital of Helsinki, is built around a medieval stone church. Facing the church, a tired city library building dating to the 1980s has been renovated and expanded into a new community hub by Helsinki-based JKMM Architects.
JKMM has given the building a 50m-long sheltered terrace overlooking the churchyard; it has also added copper shingle cladding to the newly expanded library, which is named Fyyri.
The existing concrete structure of the original 1980s building was used and adapted for the project, thus maximising sustainability. The volume was doubled – in order to total 4,700 sq m – and remodelled. New facilities were introduced including rooms for toddler group activities, youth clubs as well as exhibition areas and spaces for events and performances. The new ground-level café has a 198 sq m reading lounge dedicated to newspapers and periodicals.
The reading room interiors at Fyyri include bespoke lighting with brass fittings; brass has also been used in the library’s new entrances and hand railings. The main double-height reading hall is defined by a rhythmic series of straight, pale concrete posts and beams. Slatted timber walls and ceilings elsewhere in the building blur the division between architecture and interior design.
JKMM’s interior design team aimed to reference local nature in the choice of subdued colours and of materials such as wool and felt upholstering. They worked with Finnish artist Petri Vainio to create an in-situ art piece in the ceiling of the main entrance lobby that represents a bed of reeds.
‘Fyyri’s interior was designed to be welcoming and also intimate in a way that enables everyone to find their rightful home in the building,’ says JKMM interior architect Tiina Rytkonen. ‘By reusing the 80s structure, the interior also has the sort of unanticipated spaces that come with working with older structures. There are cozy spaces and hideaways too.’
‘Libraries are no longer solely about books, but about sharing knowledge and experiences through multiple channels,’ says JKMM founding partner Teemu Kurkela.
‘This phenomenon has changed the library typology, making contemporary libraries into places for finding inspiration, learning new things through reading and other activities and also getting together. They are not unlike community halls. This is why Finns today refer to libraries as public living rooms.’
JKMM is known for its work on Finnish library projects, including the design of Turku City Library (2007), as well as major extensions to two landmark libraries designed by Alvar Aalto, including Seinäjoki Library.
Photography by Tuomas Uusheimo