Alvar Aalto - Finland
Rovaniemi Library
Hallituskatu 9, Rovaniemi

1961 - 1968


The Rovaniemi City Library, designed by Alvar Aalto immediately after the Seinšjoki Library, is related to this building. The Rovaniemi City Library develops some of the earliers building's themes on both a broader and more detailed scale. Planning for this building was made during the years 1961 to 1966 and construction took place from 1965 to 1968. In comparison with the Seinšjoki Library, this building contains a considerably larger collection of boos for a larger readership. Furthermore, the building accomodates several special departments. The fan-shaped lending and stack section clearly appears as the most important room of the library, protruding from the main building volume towards the piazza side. The raised facade of the main room is divided into five crystal-like, projecting sectors, clad with white, vertical ceramic tiles and crowned with skylights. This plastically articulated volme, facing the central square, at the same time marks the main entrance, leading to a long entrance hall giving access to the lending room, a space for temporary exhibitions, a newspaper room and a section containing stuffed arctic birds. From the entrance hall a staircase leads down to the geological museum, a music library and the archives. On the interior of the lending room, the so-called 'lock skylight' provides shadowless lighting for the interior. The lending desk is located within a striking frame of desks, articulated by the fan-like wall sectors. The structure of the plan of this room is repeated in the so-called 'book pit', a sunk area in the floor containing the books which are not lent out and with stairs leading further down to the basement archives. The Rovaniemi City Library was executed as the first building in the town's new centre designed by Alvar Aalto.