The 2017 Finnish Wood Award goes to Rest Area Niemenharju

The 2017 Finnish Wood Award goes to Rest Area Niemenharju, with Studio Puisto Architects responsible for architectural design.

As its grounds for the award, the jury states the following:

“Rest Area Niemenharju represents extremely high-quality and distinctive Finnish wood architecture that does not need any stylistic loans. Use of wood on the site is technically superb. At Niemenharju, nature and architecture are naturally blended with each other. Finnish nature becomes a part of the architecture of the building. Visitors who enter the building also experience the presence of nature.

The insight of combining high-quality wood architecture with a tourist attraction is excellent. It increases the attention value and attractiveness of both the site and timber construction at the same time.  Adding to the novelty value is the fact that there have been few similar sites in recent years. The site raises the level of tourism construction and creates an image of Finland as a tourist country of high quality and a distinctive character. The jury also finds the site’s young and innovative designers worth a specific mention.”

The following parties took part in the implementation of the winner:
  • Client: Rest Area Niemenharju (Olavi and Teija Kolehmainen)
  • Architectural design: Studio Puisto Architects (Willem van Bolderen, Mikko Jakonen, Sampsa Palva, Heikki Riitahuhta, Emma Johansson)
  • Structural design: Design Laukka Oy (Heikki Ainasoja)
  • Building contractor: Construction company Observo (Martti Haikola)
  • HPAC design: Engineering Firm Mäkelä Oy (Pirkko Karjala, Pentti Kuurola)
  • Electrical design: Engineering Firm Aarne Kärkkäinen Oy (Aarne Kärkkäinen)
  • Tourism Consultants Onvision Oy (Hannu Komu)
  • Wood component supplier: Versowood Oy

More about Rest Area Niemenharju

In deciding the winner of the 2017 Wood Award, the jury decided to give out one honorary mention in addition to the actual prize.

The Wood Award honorary mention goes to Allas Sea Pool, Architect Pekka Pakkanen from Architects Huttunen – Lipasti – Pakkanen. As grounds for the honorary mention, the jury states the following:

“Allas Sea Pool, with its highly skilful design, is a bold move to bring timber construction to the centre of a large city. We are not used to seeing many wooden buildings in the middle of large cities. In Allas Sea Pool, wood is a natural part of the architecture of the pavilion-type building and its expansive lounge areas. The site proves that wood is highly suitable as the material for buildings intended to be temporary.”

Architectural design for Allas Sea Pool: Huttunen-Lipasti-Pakkanen Architects. Client: Helsinki Allas Oy.

More about Allas Sea Pool

Youth Centre Marttinen’s VIHTA lakeside sauna is the winner of the public voting

As has been customary in recent years, public voting was arranged among the final candidates for the Wood Award, and this year more than 6,000 votes were cast. The winner of the public voting is the Youth Centre Marttinen’s VIHTA lakeside sauna, designed by Anniina Kortemaa and Elina Merilä.

The 2017 candidates

The Wood Award competition received an exceptionally high number, almost 30, suggestions by the deadline. Of these, 21 pertained to a building or structure from which the preliminary jury selected 15 candidates for the winner of the Wood Award and the public voting. The jury of the competition regarded the high number of suggestions as a good indication of growing interest in timber construction. Many of the suggestions submitted for the competition have considerable merits.

The candidates represent an exceptionally broad variety in the different uses of wood in construction. Public and service buildings are strongly represented among the suggestions. Housing construction is included by means of both apartment buildings and detached houses. For the first time, service housing reached the final straight of the candidates.

The suggestions provide a broad picture of the use of different wood structure techniques for various purposes in buildings. It appears that massive wood construction has become part of Finnish timber construction, and the same applies to building logs. More traditional long-beam construction is also included here. Furthermore, wood is combined with other materials.

Background to the 20th Wood Award

The Wood Award is handed out every year as an encouragement to a building, decoration or structure that represents high-quality, Finnish architecture or in which wood has been used in a way that improves construction technology.  The Wood Award has been given out since 1994. This marks the 20th award being presented. The award is granted by Puuinfo.

In selecting the winner of the Wood Award, the jury pays special attention to the architectural quality of the site, innovativeness in the use of wood, and the general attention value of the site.

Members of the 2017 jury were Professor Katja Lähtinen from the University of Vaasa and Professor Markku Hedman from Tampere University of Technology. The secretary of the jury was Mikko Viljakainen, the Managing Director of Puuinfo.

Previous Wood Awards have been granted to the following sites:

2016 Pudasjärvi log campus
2015 As Oy Jyväskylän Puukuokka 1, Jyväskylä
2014 Gösta’s Pavilion at Serlachius Museums, Mänttä
2013 Haltia – The Finnish Nature Centre Espoo
2012 PUUERA Wooden apartment building, Vierumäki
2011 Metsähallitus office building and Science Centre Pilke, Rovaniemi
2010 Luukku House, Aalto University’s Luukku team
2009 Building conservation centre at the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, Helsinki
2008 Reconstruction of Porvoo Cathedral
2007 House Kotilo, Espoo
2006 Office building FMO Tapiola, Espoo
2005 Metla building, Joensuu
2004 Laajasalo Church, Helsinki and the Aurinkorinne wooden house area, Espoo
2003 Wooden Linnanmaa area, Oulu
2002 Kierikki Centre, Yli-Ii and Sibelius Hall, Lahti
2000 Vihantasalmi bridge, Mäntyharju
1998 Viikki wooden apartment building area, Helsinki
1996 Camping site reception building, Taivalkoski
1994 Metsola lower comprehensive school, Helsinki