The winner of Finlandia Prize 2022

Jyväskylä University Library Lähde

Filmmaker Klaus Härö has chosen Jyväskylä University’s Main Library refurbishment project as the winner of Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2022.


Architectural design

Arkkitehtitoimisto Sipinen Oy / Ari Sipinen, BST-Arkkitehdit Oy / Merja Kiviranta


Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy

Main contractor

Skanska Talonrakennus Oy




11 500 m²

Year of completion


Riikka Mäkipelkola

Riikka Mäkipelkola

In short

Designed by architect Arto Sipinen in 1974, Jyväskylä University’s Main Library has now undergone a refurbishment led by his son, Ari Sipinen. The library re-opened a year ago, following the completion of the renovation. The purpose of the project was to align the library to meet the university’s future needs while retaining the original spatial concept and colour scheme. The lower floors, previously used as a book repository, were repurposed. New connections have been created with the upper levels by adding new openings between the floors. The end result is a light-filled learning environment that will help to foster a sense of community.

Riikka Mäkipelkola

Statement of the pre-selection jury

At the time of its completion in 1974, the Main Library at the University of Jyväskylä, designed by the architect Arto Sipinen, was the largest library of its kind in the Nordic countries when measured by the number of study spaces available. Following a refurbishment led by the architect’s son, Ari Sipinen, the library has reasserted itself as a social gathering place for students. Greater access is now available to the general public too. The library’s new name reflects the building’s renewal. It is now known as Lähde, a Finnish word meaning “spring” or “source”.

The purpose of the project was to align the library to meet the university’s future needs while retaining the distinctive atmosphere in the entrance foyer and the original spatial concept and colour scheme.

The most visible changes include the repurposing of the downstairs book repositories and their spatial amalgamation with the upper floors through the addition of new openings between the floors. The new entrance staircase draws visitors towards the entrance foyer. Insofar as the column frame allows, large new windows have been added to the facade offering views towards the campus. The original furniture has been refurbished and reupholstered using the original Jyväskylä Summer fabric. The project team’s commitment to preserving the building’s architectural and design heritage is palpable throughout. The end result is a new and updated learning environment, as light-filled as it is approachable, that will help a sense of community to thrive here.

The library building’s significance is reflected in the fact that it forms part of the Seminaarinmäki nationally significant built cultural heritage site and is included in Docomomo’s register selection of modern Finnish architectural masterpieces. The library originally garnered attention due to its architecture and functional design concept. The accessible collections and shared social spaces were new and novel for their time and drew extensive praise. The library’s architecture is characterised by its modular concrete frame, open and interlinked floors, the light that pours in through the skylight and large windows and the well-considered palette with its blue, yellow and black and white accents that define the interiors and frontages.

In preserving these features, the refurbishment has given the “Yellow Library”, a masterpiece of 1970s public-building design, a new lease of life that organically grows from the ideas that underpin the original architecture.

The finalists of 2022

The finalists for the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2022 were Jyväskylä University’s Main Library refurbishment, Jätkäsaari Comprehensive School in Helsinki and the Serlachius Art Sauna in Mänttä.

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