Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi wins the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2021

The philosopher Esa Saarinen has chosen Kirkkonummi Main Library, designed by JKMM Architects, as the winner of Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2021. This year’s prize is the eighth Finlandia Prize for Architecture presented by the Association of Finnish Architects (SAFA).

Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi, Finland
Fyyri is located in the centre of Kirkkonummi municipality in Western Uusimaa, Finland.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF FYYRI highlights the twin raison d’être of every library: books and reading. In his statement, philosopher Esa Saarinen praised the way Fyyri embodies the pillars on which the Finnish library institution rests: democracy, the cultural and intellectual dimension and an enduring faith in humanity.

“Libraries must be capable of moving with the times, and that is precisely what has happened in Kirkkonummi. Through our libraries we commit a collective act of service for the benefit of our community, we build our futures by offering everyone a space where they can think more, think different, think new, using fresh words and previously undiscovered nuances. All libraries emerge from the profoundly and enduringly relevant philosophical notion that is also the cornerstone on which our democracy, equality and belief in humanity all depend”, Saarinen says.

Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi, Finland
The new building envelopes the original library from 1982 by architect Ola Hansson.
Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi, Finland
Designed by JKMM Architects, the scaly façade of the Fyyri Library is made of copper.

Fyyri is the work of JKMM Architects, with Teemu Kurkela as the lead designer, Jukka Mäkinen as the project architect and Tiina Rytkönen as the interior architect. JKMM has been involved in a number of new-generation library projects, including the libraries in Turku and Seinäjoki in Finland.

“We like to think of Finnish libraries as a sort of infrastructure of happiness. As an architect, it is a great privilege to be involved in these projects. The Finnish library institution is more than 100 years old, and it keeps going from strength to strength, re-inventing itself every ten years or so”, lead designer Teemu Kurkela said.

The Fyyri Library offers a high-quality visual experience that is accessible to everyone.

Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi, Finland
In Finnish the name of the building, Fyyri, means the furnace of a steamship.
Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi, Finland
There is a large staircase for reading in the main lobby. The roof features a Sinne-Minne artwork made of birch veneers by artist Petri Vainio, which integrates the old library into a new extension.
Fyyri Library in Kirkkonummi, Finland
The main space of the library is the reading room for adults. The concrete structure creates a sculptural spatial experience.

Fyyri’s main entrance is located in a spot where the historic King’s Road, Finland’s medieval highway, bends. According to architect Jukka Mäkinen, the historic location was a source of particular inspiration for the designers.

“It has been a wonderful experience for us to be involved in creating a new centre for Kirkkonummi. The library has a unique role to play as a public building flanked by the city’s market square and medieval church. If the church is the heart of the community here, then we like to think of the library is its imagination”, Mäkinen said.

Alongside Fyyri, the nominees shortlisted for this year’s Finlandia Prize for Architecture were Ylivieska Church and the City of Helsinki Urban Enviroment Division headquarters.

The Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) is a non-profit professional organisation engaged in active efforts to promote architecture and high-quality living environments. The Finlandia Prize for Architecture is awarded for the design or renovation design of an outstanding new building or building complex that has been completed within the past three years. The recipient of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture is chosen by a public figure who is a recognised expert in an area other than architecture.

See also:

Amos Rex is a new landmark in Helsinki >

Text: Design Stories and Anu Karttunen
Images: JKMM Architects, Pauliina Salonen and Tuomas Uusheimo

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