Vyborg Library

Vyborg, Russia

The Vyborg Municipal Library was built during the time of Finnish sovereignty between 1933-1935, before the Finnish city of Viipuri was anexed by the former USSR and its Finnish name was changed to Vyborg by the USSR political authorities. Aalto received the commission to design the library after winning first prize (with his proposal titled 'WWW') in an architectural competition for the building held in 1927. Aalto's design went through a profound transformation from the original architectural competition proposal designed in the Nordic Classicism style (owing much to Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund, especially his Stockholm City Library) to the severely functionalist building, completed eight years later in a purist modernist style.

The building is an internationally acclaimed design by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and one of the major examples of 1920s functionalist architectural design. It is considered one of the first manifestations of 'regional modernism'. It is particularly famous for its wave-shaped ceiling in the auditorium, the shape of which, Aalto argued, was based on acoustic studies. On the completion the library was known as Viipuri Library, but after the Second World War and Soviet anexion, the library was renamed the Nadezhda Krupskaya Municipal Library. Nowadays, integrated in the Russian Federation city of Vyborg, the library is known as The Central City Alvar Aalto Library.

The building had been damaged during World War II, and plans by the new Soviet authorities to repair it were proposed but never carried out. The building then remained empty for a decade, causing even more damage, including the destruction of the wave-shaped auditorium ceiling. During the 1950s schemes were drawn up for its restoration — including a version in the Stalinist classical style typical of the time — by architect Aleksandr Shver.

Until the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev, few people from Finland, let alone other Western countries, visited Vyborg, and there were many different accounts in Western architectural texts about the condition of the library, including erroneous reports of its complete destruction. The building is now included in the Russian Federation's list of objects of historical and cultural heritage.

In 1998, to mark the 100th anniversary of Aalto's birth, a 2×10-metre section of the auditorium ceiling was reconstructed, but it was taken down in 2008 to enable the reconstruction of the ceiling proper. In 2010 the State of Russia funded six million euros to restoration of the library. It was completed in October 2013 and the new opening will be held in 2014.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1933-1935
Category:

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Тарас Николаевич (20 months ago)
Все очень интересно. Сюда можно сходить даже если ты не сильно любишь читать. Интерьер впечатляющий
Александра Орехова (2 years ago)
Были на экскурсии по библиотеке, которая проводится каждый час, при условии сбора группы от 3-х человек. Виктория, сотрудник краеведческого отдела библиотеки, я могу ошибаться, очень интересно рассказала об истории строительства здания, архитекторе. Провела нас по всем помещениям, в том числе в книгохранилище. Нам очень понравилось, рекомендуем!
Zinaida Leshenok (2 years ago)
Great building, amazing excursion!
Филипп Перепелица (2 years ago)
Библиотека Алвара Аалто — центральная городская библиотека Выборга, построенная в 1933—1935 годах по проекту финского архитектора Алвара Аалто. Алвар Аалто учел все особенности важные для этой сферы деятельности: режимы хранения книг, особенности работы библиотекарей, и конечно потребности читателей. Уникален волнообразный потолок читального зала, который является отличительной особенностью архитектурного стиля Алвара Аалто. Самостоятельно разработанная им система бестеневого освещения библиотеки, с помощью воронкообразных светильников. Помимо архитектурных особенностей библиотека имеет уникальную книжную коллекцию: например, собрание отдела краеведческой литературы, который формировался — и продолжает формироваться — на основе фонда, подаренного библиотекой финского города Лаппеенранта. Это книги о Выборге и Карелии на финском, шведском, немецком и других языках. В настоящее время здание библиотеки Алвара Аалто поставлено на государственную охрану.
Denis Larkin (4 years ago)
Very impressive building with amazing history.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.