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April 23: Southern Finland tour – Turku Main Library

The main branch of the Turku City Library is an elegant classical edifice, designed by Karl August Wrede and built in 1903, plus a large new modern wing designed by JKMM Architects and built in 2007. The new wing is one of my favorite examples of Finnish contemporary architecture.

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Within the new wing: the interior space of these chairs has really weird tinkly acoustics.

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Looking into the courtyard and beyond to the old wing.

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Floor planz.

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The main staircase, of generously shallow slope, has these Aaltoesque railings inset into the sides.

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I really like the wood mullions in this window and wish that they were more frequently used in curtain walls.

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Stacks and counter next to the stairs.

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The sun coming in this window, the main curtain wall of the front face, was pretty glary, which was the only sizable fault I found with the new wing's design.

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A glimpse of the old wing's roof.

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There was a spiral stairwell in the corner, painted red inside.

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Alkukirjain (Initial Letter) by Saara Ekström, one of several artworks in the new wing.

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Looking across the outer end of the upper main floor. The whole material palette is quite elegant. I really like the coffered ceiling and the square piers, and the verticality of the interior and exterior windowpanes.

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The top of the side stairwell, basking in the sunlight coming through the front curtain wall. Board-form concrete is used throughout, another pleasing tectonic decision.

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Looking out the front window.

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Red sun in the stairwell.

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Back side of the original building, from the courtyard.

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The new wing from the courtyard.

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The old building has neat details too, such as these skylights.

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The airy rotunda of the old wing.

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The original front façade ("BIBLIOTHECA").

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Down the street — old + new.

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The expansive view back into the library through the main window (there's the stairwell again).