Images Copyright: © Michael Perlmutter, Voitto Niemelä


TeamPekka Helin, Peter Verhe
LocationEspoo, Finland
Award1st prize in international invited competition 2003, Wood Construction Prize 2006, RIL Award 2006 - 2nd prize, Green Planet Architects Award 2013, 100 Architects of the year 2014 (Pekka Helin), LEED Silver 2011 certified
DescriptionFor the architect of the 21st century, timber is a fascinating building material that sets new challenges, even though it is probably the oldest and most tested material still in use. Wood makes a more positive impression on the human mind than many other building materials. When moderately processed it is a living natural product, a locally produced material requiring little energy. It is a renewable resource that binds carbon dioxide and stores heat. It is easy to process and to repair. But during the past decades its use has been excessively restricted by public authority regulation. Now these artificial impediments are being removed.

Finnforest is a wood products company specialized in serving industrial building and construction, other industrial customers as well as the home and lifestyle area, and using Nordic wood as a raw material. As an opening for new possibilities of timber, Finnforest organized in 2003 the Modular Office architectural competition, in which the entry “Sydänpuu” (Heartwood) was awarded first prize. When completed, it was the tallest timber office building in Europe. Its prefabricated, modular frame, wall and cladding units can be used to make individual timber office buildings. The system is based on a series of simple, rectangular basic modules, to which curved special modules may be added. Lifespan of the basic structural elements was set at over a hundred years at a cost that matched the average for office buildings.

The Finnforest building consists of rectangular modules, reminiscent of a stack of sawn timber. At the end a conical module has been used. Modules are hidden within an architectonic spatial system where tall internal circulation spaces alternate with the open-ended atria on the outside. Workspaces are interspersed between these in such a manner that all units have views framed by timber structures onto different parts of Tapiola and its surroundings.

The scale of the working environments is small. They are suited for working alone and small groups, with equipment to meet varying needs. Materials, colours and detailing differ from the convention. The objective has been to promote positive interaction between social and physical environments: to create an environment that is tranquil and conducive to concentration.
Start date01-07-2005
Area Units.q.m.
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