Turku Main Library (part of the Turku City Library)

JKMM ArchitectsFinland

The Turku Main Library is a functional, modern building in a medieval setting.

Authority and authority type

City of Turku

Title of library in local language

Turun pääkirjasto (osa Turun kaupunginkirjastoa)

Year of completion



Linnankatu 2, 20100 Turku, Finland

Size of library: 

Category of library

Public Library

Awards and recommended reading

- The Concrete Building of 2007
- SIO Good Environment Award 2008
- House Jury Award (YLE TV1 program)
- OKM 2011 Award for Library Developers (Ministry of Education)
- Turku European Capital of Culture 2011, Garden competition for public spaces, 2nd place
- TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013
In addition to this:
- JKMM Architects have received numerous awards JKMM Architects Ltd
- Library Services Director Inkeri Näätsaari has received The Medal of Order of the Lion of Finland (2010) and Mikael Agricola Medal (2011) for developing library services

Recommended reading:
- Inkeri Näätsaari: The Library of Our Dreams, BTJ Finland Ltd, Avain 2012
- Inkeri Näätsaari: Kaupungin valo. Turun pääkirjasto Siriuksen korttelissa, Oy Enostone Ltd 2012

Architectural idea or principle

"A modern library needs to respond to the challenges of current and future communications. On the other hand, the library institution has a long and worthy legacy as a place where information is stored and cherished. The architect has to confront these opposites and somehow combine them.” Main architect Asmo Jaaksi, JKMM Architects Ltd

Interior design

Interior architect Päivi Meuronen, graphic design Aimo Katajamäki

Special features, internal

The oak walls and furniture, the white coffered ceiling, the slim pillars, granite floor and dark carpet create a soothing atmosphere to the new section of the building, both visually and in terms of the soundscape. In addition to the classic design furniture, the furnishing consists of unique pieces designed by the interior architect. The technical systems, pipes and cables, are hidden under the access floor, leaving the surfaces plain and stylish. On the other hand, the old library building leans towards the classicism of past centuries and is a jewel of its era. Art is an integral part of the whole building.

Special features, external

The bookcases open out onto the surrounding cityscape through the large windows which pierce and lighten the solid concrete surface of the new library building. The big windows and their supporting structures are made of specially constructed, super-clear glass. An expressive glass passage joins the old library to the new one, passing the former governor’s office from 1818 – now converted into a café – along the way. In the centre of the complex is a plaza resembling a town square, giving the place the air of a city block.

Furniture supplier

Adi Kalusteet, Nikari, Kurikan interiööri, VK-Furniture, Isku, Martela, Plusminus Partners, EFG

Furniture supplier, extra

TILA/AC Artesan, Inno-Tu

Overall Cost

€ 30.000.000

Detailed description

The Turku Main Library comprises the new section completed in 2007 and the old library building that was completely renovated in 2008. The individual buildings together form an architectonically powerful whole with a modern character which is also manifest in the interior. Modern technology at the Main Library offers new services and makes it easier to use the library independently. As the busiest library in Finland, the Turku Main Library provides its customers with a wide and varied collection of library materials in both printed and electronic form. The collections are complemented by the various exhibitions and events organized every day at the library.

Front of building: 
Side of building: 
Special view outside: 
Special view inside: 
Special departments: 
Circulation desk: