Viipuri/Vyborg Library designed by Alvar Aalto

Things fall apart and get rebuilt. Things get built and fall apart.

By Joan Wickersham

In 1941 war broke out again between Finland and Russia. Control of Viipuri/Vyborg went back and forth between the two armies; in the fighting, most of the town’s buildings were destroyed.

The Viipuri Library, one of the great early masterpieces by architect Alvar Aalto, used to be in Finland. Since 1940, it has been in Russia. The library didn’t move; the border did….

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