News and events

News

Restoration of Alvar Aalto’s Viipuri Library wins 2014 Modernism Prize

Architecture and Interiors 15 December 2014

The University of Westminster’s Head of Architecture, Professor Harry Charrington was one of the Trustees of the British Chapter of the International Committee for the Restoration of Alvar Aalto's Viipuri Library. The library has been awarded the prestigious 2014 World Monuments Fund/ Knoll Modernism Prize.

Professor Harry Charrington, was a member of the Committee while living and working in Finland. After his return to the UK, in 2001, together with Jeremy Melvin and the Finnish Ambassador Pertti Salolainen, he set up a British Chapter of the Committee under the Chairmanship of Lord Norman Foster.

The Viipuri library is one of the most important buildings in the development of modernism. Built in the Finnish city of Viipuri, following the Soviet Union's invasion of Finland and the Winter and Continuation Wars of 1939–44, it became the city library of the Soviet border town – and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian town – of Vyborg. Following years of neglect, a specially formed committee has now restored the library in one of the most extraordinary heritage stories of recent years.

Speaking of the achievement, Professor Charrington said, "I am delighted by this news. The recognition of the Restoration Committee’s work by the World Monuments Fund reflects almost two decades of endeavour across borders, and against huge odds. It also credits a heritage programme that not only includes the beautiful renovation of the building itself and the recreation of a generous public space, but the training of a new generation of craftspeople and builders in Vyborg."

The Modernism Prize was launched in 2008, and is granted every two years for an innovative architectural or design solution that has preserved or enhanced a Modern landmark or group of landmarks.


About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 175-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.


For the media


For the media

Here we hope you find everything you will need to research, write and publish your story or blog post.

Press office

Please contact our press agency for any media enquiries regarding University of Westminster on

T: +44 (0)20 3697 4200
E: universityofwestminster@fourbroadgate.com