Alvar Aalto, 1927 – 1935

Architect Alvar Aalto was commissioned to design the Vyborg Library after winning the architectural competition in 1927. By its completion in 1935, the design had transformed to a more progressive building with references to Aalto’s previous functionalist projects: the Turun Sanomat building and Paimio Sanatorium.

The Vyborg Library survived the Second World War but stood vacant before renovations by the Soviet authority in 1955–61. After that, the building functioned as the central municipal library. Over time it fell into disrepair due to lack of upkeep.

The international restoration project aiming to re-instate the building’s original architectonic value was undertaken between 1991 and 2013. The effort was led by Finnish architects in conjunction with Russian colleagues and an array of international supporters.

Architect Tapani Mustonen was, with his office, responsible for developing and implementing master plans for the restoration as well as developing detailed design drawings, specifications, and documents. The Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library had an advisory role overseeing the project. Cross border collaboration showed its possibilities and results in Vyborg Library.

After twenty years of work the project was completed in 2013. The restoration of the Vyborg Library has received international awards for the exceptionally high-quality result and the laudable international cooperation. Today the library is an important public building for the locals as well as a popular destination for travellers – an iconic example of modern heritage.

restoration 1994–2013
restoration design: 1994– Tapani Mustonen, 2007–2013 mustonen architect ltd.
overseer The Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library