Kuhmo Library in the wooded Kainuu region was built on the basis of the winning entry in an open architectural competition held in 1984. The motto of the entry was ‘Atalante’ derived from Jean Vigo’s 1934 film L’Atalante. Architect Jyrki Tasa has explained his choice for the motto describing that, like the river barge in the film, the new library delivers its cargo of knowledge and art to the town of Kuhmo.
Kuhmo Library is one of the few postmodernist library buildings in Finland. The library spaces are arranged along a ‘library way’ that runs alongside the long core wall forming the central axis of the building. The rich detailing of the interior, lamps and many of the furniture are designed by the architects.
The text is an extract from the chapter ‘L’Atalante’ of Mind-Building, Finland’s exhibition at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
Architect Jyrki Tasa’s quote from the Finnish Architectural Review 8/1990:
“Architecture is at a stage of development in which diversity is a fact, a stage in which the techno-physical phase of Modernism has become a new information psychology phase, and architecture a mosaic lacking great ideals.
Modernity demands a personal stance, an individual rendering of the phenomena of the age, a handwriting. Architecture draws its strength from searching for the new, from optimism about the future. Optimism is not easy these days. Analysis of the situation and idealistic passion for solving things will carry us through the present transition stage, however.
A tolerant and inspiring atmosphere is essential in order to create an architecture energised by the zeitgeist of today yet transcending the limits of times, an architecture that speaks to people and brings them joy.”