Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Press release 10. Nov. 2004

Metla House - a building for forest research employs wood in innovative ways

Three storied Metla House in Joensuu, North Karelia, is the largest wooden office building in Finland. It has been designed to house 225 people, and was constructed in 2003-2004. The staff of Metla's (Finnish Forest Research Institute) Joensuu Research Centre moved into the new building at the end of October 2004.

A two-stage architectural competition for the building was organized in 2001-2002. From over 30 entries and a short-list of 5 proposals the pseudonym "Puumerkki" - Woodmark" created by architect Antti-Matti Siikala/SARC Oy was declared the winner.

The goal of this construction was to use Finnish wood material in innovative ways and to create an inspiring working environment for forest scientists. Wood is the main material used throughout the building, from the post-beam-slab system in the structural frame to the exterior cladding. The entrance to the courtyard is flanked by walls made of 100-year old timber. The walls have been protected against climatical conditions by pine tar "terva", a traditional and natural wood preservation substance in Finland.

The idea for the Metla House originates from the decision of Finnish Government in 2000 to support forestry research in Joensuu. Since the decision, the activities of Metla in Joensuu have expanded rapidly and the staff has been doubled. The mission of Metla's Joensuu Research Centre is to promote the regional development and enterprise activities based on forestry and forest products through research.

"Our staff is really eager to move into the new Metla House. I am sure that several wooden constructions, such as the meeting room that resembles an overturned boat and fish-chest, inspired tilted wooden columns make the house a distinct entity. As a pilot, large, wooden office construction, Metla House clearly shows that new innovative wooden solutions, such as the post-beam-slab system, can be applied to the construction of normal large wooden housing, too" says Jari Parviainen, Director of Metla in Joensuu.

During the past 5 years, the wooden construction has been promoted in Finland through various governmental programmes and by creating several wooden constructions. Such benchmarks in Finland include the Sibelius Hall - a concert and congress centre in Lahti, Vihantasalmi Bridge in Mäntyharju on the main road from Helsinki to Central Finland, a multipurpose hall in Joensuu with wooden frames forming a boat like skylight, Savonlinna concert hall and convention centre and the timber-formed library in Eno municipality, also in eastern part of Finland.

Metla House, technical data: space area 7 600 m2, volume of the building 33 300 m3, construction costs 16 000 000 €.

Additional information:

Professor, architect Antti-Matti Siikala, SARC Oy, phone +358-9-6226180, email: sarc @ sarc.fi, www.sarc.fi
Director, Dr. Jari Parviainen, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Centre,
email: jari.parviainen @ metla.fi, www.metla.fi/jo/index-en.htm

Photos of the Metla House

Sibelius Hall, Vihantasalmi Bridge, Eno library, Savonlinnasali, Joensuu Areena


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