Savonlinna City Library Joeli
Juminkeko Information Centre for the Kalevala and Karelian Culture was built for the 150th anniversary of the Finnish national epic Kalevala. The centre is located in Kuhmo, which was a central base for Elias Lönnrot’s poetry-collecting field trips in the 19th century. Juminkeko is both a national and international cultural centre, the task fo which is to preserve the Kalevaic tradition and to promote the Viena Karelian culture.
The name ’Juminkeko’ derives from ancient Finnish and Karelian mythology. Like ’Sampo’ (a magic mill which ensures the unending wealth of its owner), it is one of the unsolved mysteries of the Kalevala, and therefore an entity that will continue to capture the imagination. ”Goes round a day, goes round the moon, but cannot go round the Juminkeko” says the folk riddle, without offering any explanation.
The Kuhmo Juminkeko houses one of the world’s most extensive Kalevala collections. On the opening day the monument ’Arhipan kivi’ (Arhippa’s Stone) by sculptor Martti Aiha was unveiled as a tribute to the greatest of all rune singers, Arhippa Perttunen.
Juminkeko is run by the Kuhmon Kulttuurikornitsa Foundation, which is also a channel for cultural exchange between Finland and the Republic of Karelia.
The building was commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the old post-war wooden building on the site was fully utilized: the only new building unit outside the original building frame is the log structure that houses the auditorium. Services, production facilities for multimedia shows and exhibitions, and storerooms are located in the basement. The timber-frame exterior walls were retained but the old cladding was replaced. Partitions in the office area were torn down and the space was subdivided with furnishing. The intermediate floor of the two-storey section was opened up to create a sufficiently high exhibition area.
The structure of the Juminkeko comprises a peat-covered roof supported by glue lam beams and log columns. The beams, columns and the fine-sawn wood cladding have been treated with a mixture of tar and linseed oil. The log walls of the auditorium have been pared to improve their weather resistance. The stairs to the main entrance as well as the lobby and terrace floors are made of upright woodblocks.
Text: Finnish Architectural Review 6/1999