Kuhmo Library in the wooded Kainuu region was built on the basis of the winning entry in an open architectural competition held in 1984. The motto of the entry was ‘Atalante’ derived from Jean Vigo’s 1934 film L’Atalante. Architect Jyrki Tasa has explained his choice for the motto describing that, like the river barge in the film, the new library delivers its cargo of knowledge and art to the town of Kuhmo.

Kuhmo Library is one of the few postmodernist library buildings in Finland. The library spaces are arranged along a ‘library way’ that runs alongside the long core wall forming the central axis of the building. The rich detailing of the interior, lamps and many of the furniture are designed by the architects.

The text is an extract from the chapter ‘L’Atalante’ of Mind-Building, Finland’s exhibition at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

Architect Jyrki Tasa’s quote from the Finnish Architectural Review 8/1990:

“Architecture is at a stage of development in which diversity is a fact, a stage in which the techno-physical phase of Modernism has become a new information psychology phase, and architecture a mosaic lacking great ideals.

Modernity demands a personal stance, an individual rendering of the phenomena of the age, a handwriting. Architecture draws its strength from searching for the new, from optimism about the future. Optimism is not easy these days. Analysis of the situation and idealistic passion for solving things will carry us through the present transition stage, however.

A tolerant and inspiring atmosphere is essential in order to create an architecture energised by the zeitgeist of today yet transcending the limits of times, an architecture that speaks to people and brings them joy.”

 

Location

Pajakkakatu 2, Kuhmo
64.1263669, 29.5046059

Images

Aerial view, Kuhmo Town Library
Aerial view, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)
Kuhmo Town Library
Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Kuhmo Town Library
Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Kuhmo Town Library
Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Main entrance, Kuhmo Town Library
Main entrance, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Library hall, Kuhmo Town Library
Library hall, Kuhmo Town Library (© Antti Luutonen)
Library hall, Kuhmo Town Library
Library hall, Kuhmo Town Library (© Antti Luutonen)
Kuhmo Town Library
Kuhmo Town Library (© Antti Luutonen)
Kuhmo Town Library
Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Children's section, Kuhmo Town Library
Children's section, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Children's section, Kuhmo Town Library
Children's section, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa)
Site plan, Kuhmo Town Library
Site plan, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)
Floor plan, Kuhmo Town Library
Floor plan, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)
Bookhall section, Kuhmo Town Library
Bookhall section, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)
Facade projections, Kuhmo Town Library
Facade projections, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)
Lake elevation, Kuhmo Town Library
Lake elevation, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)
South-west elevation, Kuhmo Town Library
South-west elevation, Kuhmo Town Library (© Jyrki Tasa / NRT Architects)

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