How this old-school library in Finland was reframed as a ‘public living room’
JKMM’s revitalization of an old institutional building in Kirkkonummi sets an example for the creation of modern community spaces.
A 1980s city library has been transformed by architecture practice JKMM into a contemporary centre for learning and knowledge. The revitalized concrete building, rebranded as Fyyri, has been clad in shimmering copper shingles to reflect its maritime heritage setting. Emphasizing its relationship with the neighbouring medieval church, JKMM has enhanced the building’s form with a 50-m-long sheltered terrace that overlooks the churchyard. Slatted timber walls and ceilings blur the division between architecture and interior design and allow natural light to filter through the rhythmic columns to create internal patterns reminiscent of daylight rippling through a forest of trees.
Inspired by the natural surroundings, JKMM’s renovation of the existing building has doubled its usable internal space. It has also modernized the institution’s public offering by introducing accommodation space for a variety of community uses, including toddler groups and youth clubs, and event spaces for performances or exhibitions. This speaks to the wider Finnish celebration of libraries as ‘public living rooms’. Founding partner Teemu Kurkela describes the modern library as ‘a place for finding inspiration, learning new things through reading and other activities and getting together.’