Copper, an inherently timeless material that ages beautifully, was used to remodel a library in Kirkkonummi, Finland.

Nordic Brown Light pre-oxidised copper cladding, in the form of large shingles and vertical fins structuring glazing, creates a strong civic identity for the expanded and remodelled library.

Revitalised building

Known as Fyyri, the revitalised building exemplifies a new generation of Finnish libraries that its architects, JKMM, have been active in shaping. These new libraries are conceived as vibrant, multipurpose facilities at the heart of communities, that still retain the core concept of places for reading, research and learning.

Redefining the library typology

As JKMM founding partner, Teemu Kurkela, explained: “The library typology in Finland has changed – it is not only about books, but getting together to share knowledge and experiences through multiple channels. They are not unlike community halls, which is why Finns today refer to libraries as public living rooms.”

Fyyri is a sustainable, adaptive reuse of the original 1980s concrete library building, utilising its embodied carbon. JKMM has remodelled it and doubled its size, introducing new spaces for community uses such as toddler groups, youth clubs, exhibitions, events and performances. They also completely redesigned the interiors, finished throughout with white walls alongside slatted timber walls and ceilings, integrating the original concrete column structure.

Cladding ensures strong civic presence

Externally, the new library is clad in Nordic Brown Light pre-oxidised copper enwrapping the building and giving it unity and a strong presence as a civic landmark. Nordic Brown provides the same oxidised brown surface that otherwise develops over time in the environment. The thickness of the oxide layer determines the colour of the surface finish, with darker or lighter (Nordic Brown Light) shades of brown. Nordic Brown Light gradually changes over time to a stable dark chocolate brown.

Unified by materiality

At Fyyri, Nordic Brown Light copper is used in several architectural forms – unified by their materiality – notably, distinctive shingles generating diagonal wave-like patterns.

Kurkela added: “Both the interior and exterior of the library are inspired by the traditional life of fishermen surrounding Kirkkonummi, as well as Finnish nature – common themes in our work. The shingle patterns resemble images of fishing nets, particularly fitting for a city with an extensive and beautiful coastline, and maritime heritage. The copper shingles are at the same time functional, modern and timeless.”

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