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Wood construction

The energy-efficiency requirements of buildings are growing stricter, which means that when the energy use stemming from housing decreases, the role of construction materials grows larger. Due to this, Helsinki aims to promote wooden construction in many ways.

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Helsinki’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030. Wood construction is an increasingly important part of achieving this goal, as wood as a construction material binds carbon.
Helsinki’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030. Wood construction is an increasingly important part of achieving this goal, as wood as a construction material binds carbon.

Additionally, the new housing and land use implementation plan (AM programme) that came into force in 2020 defines increasing wooden construction in Helsinki as one of its goals. Furthermore, the MAL agreement for land use, housing and transport between the City of Helsinki and the state also strives towards significant growth of wooden construction.

Even though relatively few wooden blocks of flats have been built thus far, a great deal more are to be built in the near future. For example, Honkasuo , an urban village of wooden buildings in northwest Helsinki, is the largest new wooden construction area in the city. Wood will also be used more for architecturally impressive landmark buildings, both their facades and their structures.

Wooden construction is also included in the City’s Re-thinking ​Urban Housing programme. In 2020, one of the programme’s publications was a report on a project that compared identical blocks of flats with either wooden or concrete structures. The programme’s other wooden construction projects are Circular City Village, Wooden block of flats made from modular elements, Wooden Apartment Block of the Future and Village Co-Living + LiM.

Wood construction projects

In 2020–2021, a design competition was held for a residential apartment block located in Ala-Malmi residential area, at Karviaistie 12, where the participants were asked to design a facade stripping renovation project and elevate the buildings with two additional wooden floors. The competition also set ambitious goals for the renovations in terms of improving energy efficiency.

The site is a unit of eight blocks of flats completed in 1977, owned by Helsingin kaupungin asunnot Oy. A facade stripping renovation project means replacing the concrete elements used as facade material with wood.

Four architecture agencies were invited to the competition, and the winner was Architecture and Design Agency Talli together with Architecture Agency A-Konsultit with their proposal ‘Metsä puilta’ (‘Forest from the trees’). The assessment criteria were, in addition to the innovative use of wood material, the solutions’ reproducibility, architectonic quality, positive effect on the cityscape, low emissions and cost effectiveness. The winning entry has the lowest total costs.

 

Havainnekuva voittajaehdotuksesta.
Photo: Arkkitehtuuri- ja muotoilutoimisto Talli, Arkkitehtitoimisto A-Konsultit
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Finlandia Hall is being renewed. During the renovation, you will be served by the unique new Little Finlandia event center. Little Finlandia, a new wooden pavilion-like experience center, has opened in the middle of the most beautiful area of Helsinki. This incomparable, unique meeting party and event venue offers a unique setting for unforgettable occasions.

Read more on Finlandia Hall's website

Havainnekuva Pikku-Finlandiasta.
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Hopealaakso daycare centre for 210 children will be built in Kruunuvuorenranta. The daycare centre will be completed by autumn 2021.

The daycare centre has two floors and a new design that was presented in an architecture competition in 2019. Wood was the most cost efficient construction material for the project.

The objective was to achieve a four-star rating for the daycare centre in the environmental rating programme run by the Building Information Foundation RTS. The building will feature a green roof with stonecrops.

In the video by the constructors Puurakentajat the daycare centre was being built under a hood in autumn 2020

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A project with the purpose of developing a wooden parking garage that meets Finnish standards was launched in March 2020. Using wood in parking garages could help reduce the carbon footprint of construction while also increasing carbon pools.

At the moment, there are no wooden parking garages in Finland taller than two floors, as building taller structures has not been possible due to the national fire safety standards. However, this project aims to prove that building a fire-safe parking garage even without protective plates is possible.

The project’s parking houses are designed in Kuninkaantammi, Helsinki, and Kivistö, Vantaa. These new residential areas have highlighted wooden construction and other, green construction solutions. The parking garages will have green roofs to absorb storm waters and solar panels for producing electricity.

 

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Future wood construction areas

Wood construction is planned for several residential areas to be zoned and built in future years in Helsinki. With an aim of decreasing the areas’ carbon footprint of construction, wood construction is planned in Läntinen Bulevardikaupunki and Kyläsaari, for example. Wood construction will also play a large role in future infill construction in old residential areas.

The map below presents the future wood construction areas. A lot of of wood construction is planned for the infill construction areas along the Jokeri Light rail route, for example.

Kartta, johon on merkitty tulevaisuuden puurakentamisalueita.

Embodied Carbon

Embodied Carbon—the emissions released from materials during the construction of buildings and infrastructure—will be responsible for half of the carbon footprint of new structures between now and 2050. It is a substantial source of carbon emissions in cities that can be dramatically reduced through the legal and regulatory powers of zoning and land use policies.

Using wood to construct buildings is one way to reduce embodied carbon emissions in cities. The below videos, produced together with the the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) shine a light on wood construction, and its potential to improve quality of life in addition to storing carbon. The videos take a look at three examples of wood construction in Helsinki: en events centre, an office building and a daycare centre.

The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) is a collaboration of 22 leading global cities working actively to achieve carbon neutrality. Helsinki became a member of CNCA in 2018.

Pikku-Finlandia event centre in Helsinki city centre

In this video, CNCA Member Helsinki illustrates the health, workplace, and environmental benefits of wood construction. Helsinki is rethinking its built environment and promoting more sustainable approaches in its city buildings.

Supercell headquarters in Jätkäsaari

In this video, CNCA Member Helsinki illustrates the health, workplace, and environmental benefits of wood construction. Helsinki is rethinking its built environment and promoting more sustainable approaches in its city buildings.

Hopealaakso daycare centre in Kruunuvuorenranta

In this video, CNCA Member Helsinki illustrates the health, workplace, and environmental benefits of wood construction. Helsinki is rethinking its built environment and promoting more sustainable approaches in its city buildings.

Contact information

Name:
Mervi Abell

Job title:
Planning Engineer, City Executive Office
Phone number:
+358 9 310 26306