Finland has been promoting wood construction since the 1990s. The priority areas of the Wood Building Programme 2016–2023 are in urban development, public buildings and increasing regional competence. The promotion of wood construction supports Finland’s ambitious carbon neutrality target.
Three-quarters of Finland’s total land area is covered by forests. Finland has well-operating and sustainable forestry on a global scale. The Finnish extensive competence in responsible forestry and the forest products industry and high-quality research and development efforts have a lot to give in this context.
Wood is the traditional building material in Finland, and the Finnish know-how in wood construction is rooted deep. Finland has long experience in industrially prefabricated wooden low-rise buildings and successful production and manufacturing of modular houses, and nearly 90 per cent of the single-family, semi-detached and terraced houses constructed in Finland are built of wood.
In public buildings, such as schools and day-care centres, wood construction currently accounts for around twenty per cent in Finland. There is demand for wooden school buildings, thanks to good indoor air quality and the warm atmosphere created by wooden surfaces. The resilience and repairability of wood architecture are increasingly appealing, as well as the sustainability aspects. The wood used in a building will absorb carbon at least for the entire building life cycle.
Many Finnish cities and municipalities have integrated wood construction into their programmes and prepared plans for neighbourhoods entirely built of wood. More and more industrially produced wood-framed office buildings, blocks of flats, and large-scale construction is underway.
In Finland’s university-level architecture education, students gain a deep understanding of the wood material and learn hands-on skills in wood building. Together with Finland’s leading IT know-how, the country is a pioneer in the industrial processes of prefabricated wood construction. Industrial log construction is a Finnish curiosity – the chain from desktop to industrial robot to ready-to-install element is well-polished and flawless.
This selection of contemporary Finnish wood architecture was compiled by Archinfo together with architect, journalist Tarja Nurmi, by commission of the Ministry of the Environment’s Wood Building Programme. The full project presentations and related articles can be found on Archinfo’s website through this link.