Joensuu Lighthouse wins the 2019 Wood Award

The 2019 Wood Award will be awarded to Joensuu Lighthouse. Its architectural design is by Arcadia Oy Arkkitehtitoimisto, with architect SAFA Samuli Sallinen as the chief designer. The award was granted at Finnish national Wood Day on November 28th in Helsinki

Photo: Arcadia Oy Arkkitehtitoimisto

As its award criteria, the jury stated the following:

Joensuu Lighthouse is Finland’s first 14-storey wooden apartment block. Rising to almost 50 metres, this student dormitory can be considered a pioneer in the development of high-rise wood construction that also attracts international interest.

To make the project possible, various aspects of wood construction solutions and processes needed further development. The fire safety design for the building is based on case-specific functional fire design, as the standard dimensioning tables only cover buildings up to 8 storeys high. From a structural point of view, the site was classed as exceptionally demanding. The structure is stiffened with steel rods inside the wooden structures, tensioned from top to bottom. This is the first time this technology has been applied in Finland.

The project used a competitive negotiation process, with the final choice being Stora Enso’s frame system and local construction contractor Eero Reijonen Oy. The site exemplifies the compatibility of different wood products with its use of both LVL veneer and CLT cross-laminated plywood. A total of more than 2,000 m3 of solid wood products were delivered to the site. The wood product components store carbon in an amount equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of about 700 passenger cars.

The building was completed on schedule. Each individual storey took less than two weeks to build. The solid wood panel blanks were delivered to the site with the necessary window and door openings and conduits for building services in place, all machined by Timberpoint Oy of Loviisa. The final touches needed for installation were added under the cover of a tent. The elements were installed when the weather permitted, and after installation, the completed storeys were protected by a temporary roof to maintain the dry chain.

Lighthouse Joensuu will continue to promote wood construction as Karelia University of Applied Sciences will continue acoustics research and monitor the effects of variations in temperature and humidity, including structural displacement and creep. The apartment building exhibits the light artwork of lighting artist Kari Kola. The permanent installation employs an exceptional technique where the lightwork glows out of the building.

The following partners were involved in the winning work:

  • Architectural design: Arcadia Oy Arkkitehtitoimisto, Chief Designer Architect SAFA Samuli Sallinen
  • Developer/Client: Opiskelija-asunnot Oy Joensuun Elli, Developer Vesa Vapanen, Managing Director Jarmo Ojalainen
  • Structural design: Joensuun Juva Oy / A-Insinöörit, Head of Unit Toni Rautiainen
  • Contractor: Rakennustoimisto Eero Reijonen, Chairman of the Board Eero Reijonen, Managing Director Jarmo Hämäläinen and Site Manager Jukka Timonen
  • Wood component supplier: Stora Enso Wood Products Oy Ltd., Executive Vice President Jari Suominen
  • Machining of wood components: Timberpoint Oy, Managing Director Marko Suonpää
  • Wood apartment building research and development: Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Project Manager Mikko Matveinen

Winner of the public vote

In the tradition of recent years, the final nominees were narrowed down by public vote. A record number of almost 20,000 votes were cast this year. The winner of the public vote was Holiday Resort Kuopion Saana, designed by QVIM Arkkitehdit Oy.

The 2019 entries

A total of 21 proposals were received by the end of the submission period. The screening panel selected 14 proposals to compete for the Wood Award and the public vote. The proposals represent very high quality architecture and broad-based use of wood in construction. The jury considered the quality of all proposals to be very high.

Photographs of the projects are available at:

Background for the 22nd Wood Award

The Wood Award is awarded annually as an encouragement for the building, interior design or structure that best represents high quality, Finnish wood architecture or where wood has been used in a manner that improves construction techniques. The Wood Award has been awarded since 1994, and this year’s winner is the award’s 21st recipient. 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, the innovative use of wood and the overall attention attracted by the site.

The 2019 jury consisted of Puulehti’s Editor-in-Chief Mikko Viljakainen and writers Hilppa Iittiläinen and Kirsi Pellinen. The jury enlisted the expert opinion of Markku Karjalainen, Architect and PhD Eng., who is the Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Tampere’s Department of Architecture.

Previous winner of Wood Award:

2018 Tuupala primary school and day-care centre, Kuhmo
2017 Rest Area Niemenharju, Pihtipudas
2016 Pudasjärvi log campus, Pudasjärvi
2015 As Oy Jyväskylän Puukuokka 1, Jyväskylä
2014 Gösta Pavilion at the Serlachius Art Museum, Mänttä
2013 Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, Espoo
2012 PUUERA Wooden apartment building, Vierumäki
2011 Metsähallitus office building and Pilke science centre, Rovaniemi
2010 Luukku House, Aalto University Luukku Team
2009 Conservation Centre of the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, Helsinki
2008 Reconstruction of Porvoo Cathedral, Porvoo
2007 Kotilo House, Espoo
2006 FMO Tapiola office building, Espoo
2005 Metla House, Joensuu
2004 Laajasalo church, Helsinki and Aurinkorinne wooden detached housing area, Espoo
2003 Puu-Linnanmaa area, Oulu
2002 Kierikkikeskus, Yli-Ii and Sibelius Hall, Lahti
2000 Vihantasalmi bridge, Mäntyharju
1998 Viikki wooden apartment block, Helsinki
1996 Camp site reception building, Taivalkoski
1994 Metsola primary school, Helsinki