New wooden educational buildings in Finland – wood construction rapidly increasing

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Published 17 March 2021
In 2020, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment set new targets aimed to increase the use of wood in public buildings in Finland. The effect of these national targets is already clearly visible in Finnish public construction, with many new educational building projects starting in early 2021. Stora Enso will supply solid wood elements to a new wooden school in Helsinki and a kindergarten in Tuusula, the largest massive wood kindergarten in Finland to date.

Image credit: Cooperative collective Arkkitehdit Frondelius+Keppo+Salmenperä Oy and Arkkitehdit Rudanko+Kankkunen Oy

The use of massive wood in Finnish public construction is increasing rapidly following the new target setting by the Ministry of the Environment, an initiative that is part of the Wood Building Programme. "Finland already has significantly more order backlog for 2021 than last year as a whole, so the year looks very promising for wood construction in Finland," says Antto Kauhanen, Business Development Manager at Stora Enso.

Among the projects that will be constructed in 2021 are Pakilanpuisto school, the fourth wooden educational building in Helsinki, and the Martta Wendelin kindergarten in Tuusula, both to be built with wood elements by Stora Enso.

In 2020, Stora Enso launched a school building concept that supports municipal decision-makers as well as architects and planners looking to design low-carbon wooden schools and kindergartens. The concept provides basic guidelines for planning and dimensioning of premises, as well as guidance in selecting the most suitable wood material solution.

Low-carbon educational buildings

When the Martta Wendelin kindergarten project in Tuusula is completed in May 2022, it will be the largest wooden kindergarten in Finland in terms of cubic meters of wood. The building is designed according to the environmental criteria of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, which ensures that the building is environmentally friendly throughout its life cycle. Wooden buildings store carbon and are a low-emission alternative to traditional construction materials. Wood is also dimensionally accurate, light and strong, adding to its benefits as a building material.

Wood construction is also benefiting from new technology that is making it easier and faster to design and build with wood. At Pakilanpuisto school and Martta Wendelin kindergarten, the smart installation assistant app CLT360+ by Stora Enso will be used to reduce waiting times at the site and ensure installation runs smoothly.

Martta Wendelin Kindergarten

Image credit: Arkkitehdit Frondelius+Keppo+Salmenperä Oy

Learning environments that foster wellbeing and creativity

Studies show that wooden classrooms reduce stress and foster creativity, making wood a great choice for learning environments. "Interest in schools and kindergartens is increasing in Finland, and there is a clear need for educational buildings that have a positive impact on children’s health and wellbeing," Antto Kauhanen explains.

Stora Enso is supplying massive wood elements to both construction sites. Timber construction specialists Puurakentajat Group Oy have been cooperating with Stora Enso for several years in a range of wood construction projects.

“We have chosen Stora Enso as our supplier as it is vital to our customer promise that we can rely on the quality and customer orientation of our suppliers' wood products. Seamless cooperation is visible to the customer as an accurate, successful and cost-effective delivery,” says Mikko Leino, CEO of Puurakentajat Group Oy.

Pakilanpuisto school and Martta Wendelin kindergarten are both due to be completed in early 2022, welcoming children for the first time in autumn 2022.

Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper. We employ some 23 000 people and have sales in more than 50 countries and our shares are listed on the Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R) stock exchanges.

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