Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2022 awarded to the refurbishment of the University of Jyväskylä Library

Filmmaker Klaus Härö has selected the refurbishment of the University of Jyväskylä Library as the winner of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2022. The architect Ari Sipinen’s design for the refurbishment gives new life to the library, which was built in the 1970s, while respecting the building’s original concept. The award is granted by the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA.
Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2022 awarded to the refurbishment of the University of Jyväskylä Library

In his comments, Klaus Härö highlights how the building shows respect towards both the original library and visitors.

“The original purpose of the building has been respected, but there has also been the courage to make bold changes. This child of its time, skilfully situated in the surrounding urban landscape, has been revitalised – thanks to a refurbishment that thoughtfully adapts tradition to the modern age.”

“Our transformed Lähde library serves as the gateway from the heart of Jyväskylä to the campus and the world of science,” says Rector Keijo Hämäläinen from the University of Jyväskylä. “As we had hoped, the renovated Lähde has proven to be a lively meeting place and a low-threshold centre of learning for students, staff and local citizens. With its unique architecture and furnishings, the building supports studying, research and citizen science as well as the interaction of people from various age groups. This national recognition only increases our pride and joy about Lähde. We hope that it attracts new friends of science to the library’s open, light-filled space. It inspires your senses and thinking.”

Spatial idea and colour scheme preserved

The building, designed by architect Arto Sipinen, was completed in 1974. The latest refurbishment and main design was led by architect Ari Sipinen (Arkkitehtitoimisto Sipinen Oy). The facility and interior design was handled by architect Merja Kiviranta (BST Arkkitehdit Oy).

“Buildings from the 1970s, which are now undergoing extensive renovations, should definitely not be demolished,” says Ari Sipinen. “With good planning and modification of facilities, they can be adapted to modern requirements.

“As the building is nearly 50 years old, the building services were unquestionably outdated. The needs of the University of Jyväskylä, the user of the building, have also changed over the decades. Everything was renewed, excluding the concrete frame and some protected brick walls, lighting fixtures, and internal glass walls.”

The colour scheme of the library was also preserved: the basic colours – yellow, black, white, blue and red – are repeated in the facilities and the furniture. New meeting and working spaces were built for students and staff. The floors that served earlier as book storage were spatially connected to the higher floors with a new open stairway and by making large new apertures for light between floors.

In addition, all of the outer and skylight windows were replaced. The new large windows of the cafe on the first floor open up to the beautiful Seminaarinmäki campus. New outdoor stairs were built in the direction of Seminaarinkatu.

Lähde represents a typical aim of constructivist architecture in the 1970s to make university buildings versatile and modifiable. Such an idea can be seen in how the structures of the building are visible in its grid-like façade.

The public is warmly welcome to participate in guided tours of Lähde from Wednesday to Friday, 5–7 October at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., and on Saturday, 8 October at 2 p.m. Coffee will be served in the building on Wednesday, 5 October at 4 p.m.–7 p.m.

In addition to the Finlandia Prize for Architecture, the Seminaarinmäki campus was also recognised at the European level: JYU Seminaarinmäki campus and Equality in Education is awarded the first European Heritage Label in Finland

Lähde emphasises the openness of science and promotes Science for All activity, continuing the traditions of equal education.

Further information:
Head of the Museums Pirjo Vuorinen,, tel. +358 40 550 6099