Expansion of Alvar Aalto’s Seinajoki City Library, Finland, by JKMM Architects

Finnish architecture studio JKMM architects have recently completed the expansion of the Seinajoki City Library, located within the context of the city’s civic centre conceived by architect Alvar Aalto and inaugurated in 1965. In their design solution (that won a competition in 2008), the architects addressed primarily two challenges: the need to keep a physical and symbolic connection with the old library and allowing for flexible spaces for current and future use.

The main difference between the original library and the new extension can be found in the external materials chosen, as well as in the use of glazing and light qualities. Whereas Aalto’s libraries utilized mostly indirect lighting, the new Seinajoki City Library opens views to the exterior through three controlled curtain walls. The exterior of the new structure is also clad in especially-produced dark copper panels that create a new spatial identity while not overpowering the surrounding edifices.