Image

The Low2No project is designed to help transition our cities to a low carbon future. We aim to balance economy, ecology and society through strategic investments and interventions in the built environment.

Timber construction growing in Finland

September 2011 rendering of Sitra's ground floor showing the timber facade, finish materials and precast concrete podium on which the timber frame/CLT office building sits © Sauerbruch Hutton
September 2011 rendering of Sitra's ground floor showing the timber facade, finish materials and precast concrete podium on which the timber frame/CLT office building sits © Sauerbruch Hutton

There are many advantages to using timber as the principal structural material in large buildings (also see this):

  • on the economic side, timber reduces conveyance and logistical costs, reduces construction time and eases work performed by downstream trades
  • on the environment side, timber building materials provide long term carbon sequestration; when harvested sustainably, timber stocks tend to improve carbon sink capacity over un-managed land
  • socially, especially in Finland, timber is a preferred finish material for its warmth, texture and connection to historic buildings and nature

Timber construction was identified early in the Low2No project as a promising way to meet our sustainability principles and is being developed as the main structural and finish material for Sitra's office building, a first in Finland.

As mentioned earlier, SRV and VVO (our client team partners) were unable to rationalize timber construction for the residential buildings, citing market conditions and other risks as limiting factors. At the time, Finland's new fire code (developed with Sitra) that allows for multi-story timber construction was hot off the press and I think the known unknowns of this code's implementation introduced too much risk into a project already loaded with "many innovations."

One 8 story CLT building binds 850 return trip flights from JFK-LHR eCO2

But just last week, SRV announced that it had entered into a partnership with Finland's forestry giant Stora Enso to build a mixed-use (commercial, office and hotel) timber building in Jätkäsaari! We are thrilled with this development. This is something we have been pushing for a long time and we hope it to be the next step that starts a wave of timber construction across Finland.

The project will use Stora Enso's proprietary approach to multi-story cross laminated timber (CLT) construction. Interestingly, their marketing for the product focuses in the quantity of carbon that an 8 CLT story building will bind for the long term. Turns out, it is about the same as 850 return flights from London to New York City! Watch their promotional video here.

While we would have loved to see this partnership initiated under the banner of the Low2No block, it is clear that Low2No is exercising a gravitational force that is pulling the industry foward and beginning the long transition to a future built environment that is carbon neutral.

October 13th, 2011

Posted by: Justin W. Cook

Tags:  

Category: Field Reports