The drive to normalise wood as a primary building material in Europe continues with the start of a mass timber commercial building in Helsinki, Finland, developed by Finnish pension insurer, Varma.
Located in the city’s island district of Katajanokka, the building – called “Katajanokan Laituri” – will house a hotel, a conference centre, and the Finnish headquarters of wood company Stora Enso, which is supplying the mass timber elements.
“There is no comparable wooden frame anywhere else in the world,” Stora Enso said in a press release.
The company is using its “Sylva” system on the project, which it calls “a massive wood building kit comprising pre-manufactured, custom-made applications delivered just-in-time to the building site”.
The load-bearing column and beam frame will be made from 1,600 cubic metres of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) delivered from Stora Enso’s Varkaus mill in eastern Finland.
There is no comparable wooden frame anywhere else in the world
6,000 cubic metres of of cross-laminated timber (CLT) from the company’s Gruvön mill in Sweden make up the building’s walls, floors, roofs, and stairs.
The façade will be mostly glass.
The company said the wood used in Katajanokan Laituri has sequestered around 6,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the yearly emissions of some 3,500 cars.
In its daily operation, the building aims for the LEED Platinum environmental certification.
Work on it started a year ago with demolition and excavation. This week, Stora Enso said the first mass timber elements have been installed. Completion is set for summer 2024.
“This building pushes the boundaries and shows what is possible to create with wood as a climate-friendly construction material,” said Seppo Parvi, Stora Enso’s manager in Finland.
“It is designed to last at least 100 years and will store carbon for the lifetime of the building and its wooden structures.”
Building with prefabricated timber elements is faster than with concrete because it requires far fewer frame-related steps on site, Stora Enso said.
The relative lightness of the elements also cuts the number of lorry deliveries.
Prefabrication also leads to better site safety and less noise and waste, it added.
Project manager: Haahtela
Architect: Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit
Wood frame contractor: Puurakentajat Rakennus