Alvar Aalto Library in Vyborg (Viipuri Library), which was designed by Alvar Aalto and completed in 1935, is a masterpiece of International Modernism in both European and global terms. At the time of its completion, the town of Viipuri was part of Finland, but was ceded to the Soviet Union after the Second World War.
Alvar Aalto won the design competition for Viipuri Library in 1927 with a proposal that was strongly marked by Nordic Classicism. The original design has been compared to the Stockholm Municipal Library by Gunnar Asplund, which was being completed at that time.
The final decision on the construction of the library was taken in
The building did not suffer any major damage during the Second World War, but was completely abandoned for ten years after the war. Most of the damage occurred at this stage. The building was renovated in
Several evaluations, analyses and research of the building have revealed that it is still possible to restore the building to its original form and condition in spite of mistakes in earlier repairs.
In spring 1992 architects from the Alvar Aalto Club and the Finnish Ministry of the Environment took the initiative in starting an international campaign to save the library. Finnish and Russian Committees for the Restoration of Viipuri Library were set up, and a fund-raising campaign was started to cover the costs of the work.
In 1995 Alvar Aalto Library was included to the Russian Federation’s List of Objects of Historical and Cultural Value.
In 1997 The Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library was registered as a charitable society. It is the responsible planner and designer of restoration of the Library building. The building still functions as a library and is visited by about 800 persons every day.
Viipuri Library was listed in List of 100 Most Endagered Sites by World Monuments Watch 2000-2001 and 2002-2003. World Monuments Fund awarded in 2004 a Certificate of Exceptional Accomplishment to the restoration of Viipuri Library.
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