University of Jyväskylä Library
An essential requirement for the proper functioning of a library is that it be centrally located in the community structure. In an open design competition for the city centre of Lahti in the 1960s, it was still possible to propose a site for the library and other cultural building only two blocks away from the focus of the city, the market place. Arto Sipinen was part of the group that received the first prize in the competition, but the City of Lahti didn’t execute the plan. Instead, the blocks in question were later filled with business and office buildings.
In 1982 the City of Lahti organised an open design competition for the new cultural centre. The buildings were to be placed around Lahti City Theatre, completed in the previous year, four blocks from the market place. Arto Sipinen’s office won the competition.
The cultural centre, consisting of the Main Library and an adult education centre, focuses on the birch-lined street of Kirkkokatu, onto which the entry plazas of the new buildings open. The first building Sipinen’s office designed, was the Lahti adult education centre, which was completed on the east side of the City Theatre in 1987.
The Main Library was completed on the south side of the theatre three years later, in 1990. The entry plaza of the building also opens towards the west, for the convenience of pedestrians from the city centre. The façade towards Kirkkokatu does not consist of solid blocks; instead, open squares and pools provide variety in the urban space. Adjacent to the main entrance of the library are the foyers, information facilities, café and auditorium.
Arto Sipinen specialised in his career into public buildings. He was especially known as an architect of cultural centres, municipality and university buildings. By the 1980s, he had already established his own recognisable architectural style, which is also apparent in the Lahti Main Library.
Arto Sipinen was assisted by Mikko Tainio and Ulla Lähteenkorva-Nakai. Ulla Korpela was in charge of the interior design.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 6/1992