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Rovaniemi City Library and Town Hall

Address: Hallituskatu 7, 96100 Rovaniemi, Finland Open Google map

Entrance fee: Free entry

Themes: Civic centers, Cultural buildings, Libraries, Office buildings, Town plans

Website: Visit Rovaniemi

In addition to Seinäjoki, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Rovaniemi is the only city plan designed by Alvar Aalto that has been realized in Finland. The three buildings comprising the Aalto Center – the library, the Lappia Hall and the City Hall – are situated around a spacious, elongated area. The library was the first to be completed in 1968. The Lappia Hall was completed in 1975, and it became to be the last building whose completion Aalto witnessed before his passing. The city hall was completed in 1986, under plans finalised by Aalto’s architect wife Elissa Aalto.

The buildings are connected by their facade materials such as light tiles and ceramic tiles. The original materials for the interiors of the buildings were carefully selected too, as was the furniture and lighting. The architectural accents of the buildings face the square, so that the three structures are perceived as a strong architectural whole. The top windows of the library rise prominently from the rhythmically closed façade and bring natural light into the lending room. The ceiling structure of the Lappia Hall rises above the straight façade line with mountain-shaped prominences. Within the town hall building, the council hall creates a tower-like form which rises above the rest of the building.

Rovaniemi City Library 

The Rovaniemi city library consists of two connected parts: a fan-shaped library hall and an elongated, rectangular office wing. The interior design of the library followed the concept typical to Aalto’s libraries, with the reading area placed on a lower level than the lending hall. The fan-shape also served the purpose of making the surveillance of the lending hall more efficient. Natural daylight and lighting design also played an important role within the library project. In addition to the actual library facilities, the building includes a music library, a newspaper hall, an exhibition and auditorium hall, and a children’s section.

Rovaniemi Town Hall

The completion of the Rovaniemi Town Hall in 1986 finalised the Aalto Centre. The town hall consists of several wings assembled around the central building. The most hierarchically important facilities of the building, such as the council hall, the meeting rooms and the mayor’s office are located around the main entrance. In particular, the tower-like council hall stands out against the building complex. After the completion of the town hall, the Aalto Centre square was further embellished by the sculpture “The Birth of Mountains” by artist Kain Tapper, which was put in place in 1988. Rovaniemi Town hall is closed for the time being due to renovation works.

The council hall inside at the Rovaniemi town hall creates a tower like form. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation

The top windows of the Rovaniemi city library rise prominently from the rhythmically closed façade and bring natural light into the lending room. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation

In addition to Seinäjoki, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Rovaniemi is the only city plan designed by Alvar Aalto that has been realized in Finland. The three buildings comprising the Aalto Center - the library, the Lappia Hall and the City Hall - are situated around a spacious, elongated area.
Rovaniemen kirjasto ja kaupungintalo
View from the Lappia Hall to the Rovaniemi City Library and Town Hall. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Rovaniemi City Library
Canopy over the main entrance to the Rovaniemi City Library and art display wall. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Lending room, Rovaniemi city library
The skylights guide the day light into the lending room at the Rovaniemi city library. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Rovaniemen kaupunginkirjasto, lukusyvennys
There are several reading rooms inside the Rovaniemi City library. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Main entrance, The Rovaniemi town hall
Main entrance to the Rovaniemi town hall. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Rovaniemen kaupungintalon eteishalli
The view to the square from the Rovaniemi town hall lobby. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Rovaniemen kaupungintalo, 2krs
The lobby space on the second floor of the Rovaniemi town hall is decorated with Aalto designed furniture. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
The council hall, Rovaniemi town hall
The council hall of the Rovaniemi town hall. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
The Administrative and Cultural Centre of Rovaniemi
The Administrative and Cultural Centre of Rovaniemi, shown from the Rovaniemi city hall and looking towards Lappia Hall. Rovaniemi City library can be seen on the left. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation

Destination on the map

1. Rovaniemi City Library and Town Hall

Information for visitors

Good to know

Arriving to Rovaniemi

The city of Rovaniemi is well connected to the rest of the world via various means of transport. The distance between Helsinki and Rovaniemi is approximately 820 kilometres. Rovaniemi can be reached by plane, train, bus or car. Distances within the city are relatively short and you can reach sights either on foot or by catching a local bus or taking a taxi. You can reach Rovaniemi taxi service by calling +358 200 88 000.

Rovaniemi City Library is located on Jorma Eton tie 6 and the Town Hall is located on Hallituskatu 7.

Read more about arriving to Rovaniemi and getting around the city from the Visit Rovaniemi website.

You will also find more information about Alvar Aalto’s and other major architects’ works on the Visit Rovaniemi website.

You can purchase publications about Alvar Aalto’s architecture in Rovaniemi as well as download architectural drawings from the Alvar Aalto web shop! 

Further information

Rovaniemi Town hall is closed for the time being due to renovation works.