The 2018 Wood Award goes to Tuupala primary school and day-care centre, with Antti Karsikas of alt Architects Oy and Martti Karsikas of Arkkitehtitoimisto Karsikas Oy were responsible for the project's architectural design.
A-Insinöörit’s planning manager, Jaana Jokitulppo, PhD, points out that although the importance of noise in peoples’ day-to-day well-being is known, construction projects still do not pay sufficient attention to acoustic solutions because acoustic design is not perceived to be a part of the overall design. In a sense, expertise in acoustics must be sold separately in every project and its benefits must be justified on the fact that acoustic solutions can already be integrated into a building in the design phase, which is just part of being cost effective.
The ability to bind moisture, the beneficial acoustic properties and thermal conductivity are well-known properties of wood, but now researchers are becoming interested in wood's antibacterial properties. For example, a comparison of cutting boards found that wooden boards repelled bacteria better than their plastic equivalents.
Riina Muilu-Mäkelä, a senior researcher at Luke, the Natural Resources Institute of Finland, is conducting basic research on the health effects of wood. She also coordinates the Finnish Superwood project, which aims to identify the commercial market potential of wood in addition to its health effects. - Research on wood’s health effects is cross-disciplinary. The research team at the University of Tampere includes physicians, biologists and psychologists, architects and also experts in industrial economics.
Using wood as a construction material is drawing increased interest due to its potential effects on human well-being. Problems with indoor air, mildew and noise in buildings have increased the pressure for finding solutions to these problems as early as the building design phase. Multidisciplinary research on the factors associated with well-being is being conducted in Finland.
The wood product industry is often thought of as an industry with high volume. However, the industry also includes firms specialising in small production runs and customer-focused service operations. Vankkapuu Oy is a family business that has operated for over three decades. With operations in Simpele and Joutseno in the Finnish province of South Karelia, the company has found its place in the wood product manufacturing market through specialisation, flexibility in product manufacturing, customer-focused operations and ensured delivery.
The timber trade is in the midst of a structural change. Consumers are increasingly less interested in basic lumber and are demanding more finished products instead. "I want to push the processing industry towards a higher degree of refinement and product development and a larger appreciation of the domestic market," says Petrus Berg, the CEO of Puumerkki.
Koskisen Oy, which began its sawmill operations almost 110 years ago, has grown into a diversified wood processing company that processes all its procured wood into products ranging from bio-energy to industrial housing elements. Located in Kärkölä in Päijät-Häme, the company has a typical history for a Finnish wood industry company: it started with sawmill operations. The second generation was interested in expanding to new products, and the sawmill operations begun by Kalle Koskinen were soon extended to wood processing for the plywood, chipboard and construction industries. Now in its fourth generation, Koskisen Oy is a Finnish pioneer in the sawmill and wood panel industries, in thin plywood production and the manufacturing of element-based building construction components. The company has more than a thousand employees and turnover was EUR 270 million in 2017.
The Finnish wood processing industry's history of more than one hundred years traces back to its international orientation and its knowledge of the needs of the export market. Alongside the main products of pulp and paper, a strong construction-focused industry has emerged to produce particle board and plywood products for industrial construction needs.
Finland is known around the world for its high-quality wood architecture. Today's Finnish wood architecture has its roots in the minds of internationally renowned Finnish architects and draws inspiration from nature. High-quality wood architecture is a significant facilitator in increasing the appreciation and market for wood construction and growing its reputation.
Finnish architecture’s success story has always been associated with its close connections with nature and tradition. New industrial wood construction products, prefabrication and new wood construction materials have also increased the interest of architects in the possibilities of wood and in modern wood architecture.