Monio Upper Secondary School and Cultural Centre wins 2023 Wood Award

Monio is a new multipurpose facility in the former garrison area in the centre of Tuusula’s Hyrylä disctrict.

The building houses an upper secondary school and cultural centre, and was designed by AOR Architects. The winner was announced at the Puupäivä (Wood Day) event on November 2nd.

With a gross area of 8773 m2, Monio is one of the largest public buildings to be built with logs in Finland and the first three-storey log school.

Photograph: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy

This technologically advanced building showcases a novel combination of different methods for modern wooden construction. Aside from the obvious log walls, the intermediate floors, pillars, and roof structures are also made of wood, making the entire building a monument to wooden construction.

The jury issued the following statement when making the award:

Monio will serve as an international calling card for Finnish large-scale wood construction with its exemplary use of different methods combining a variety of technical solutions for wood.

Monio’s appeal and architectural quality stem from its materials. Its use of non-settling logs as a new type of solid wood element has enabled a distinctive, novel approach to wood architecture from the overall design to the tiniest details for log joints of varying sizes. The versatile use of materials draws from each material’s individual strengths and characteristics to provide a calming colour scheme that is further enhanced by the interior design. The building’s fixed furnishings and building technology are cleverly integrated into the overall architecture.

Monio’s intriguing architecture is based on a series of six log houses running through the building and the indoor streets that connect them. This gives the lofty common spaces the feel of a natural flow from one floor to the next, providing excellent views and making it easy for visitors to find their way around the building. The robust wooden architecture gives the building a unique spirit that stands out from the rest.

The project showcases the City of Tuusula’s strong commitment to sustainability in a tangible way that is good for the city’s residents and the environment.

A multifunctional building made of solid wood that enhances the well-being of its users with its material choices. The wood is skilfully complemented by other materials (concrete, brick) in their natural states.

The compelling interior design completes the concept – the architecture does not restrict itself to mere structures, instead blending seamlessly into the building technology and furniture.

Selected participants in the winning project:

  • Architectural design: AOR Arkkitehdit Oy
  • Developer/Client: Tuusulan kunta, Facilities services
  • Structural design: A-Insinöörit Suunnittelu Oy
  • Fire safety design: KK-Palokonsultti Oy
  • Contractor: Lujatalo Oy
  • Wood component supplier: Kontiotuote Oy (logs), VVR Wood Oy (intermediate floor elements), Versowood Oy (glulam pillars and diagonals), Puumerkki Oy (LVL beams)
  • Interior design: Haptik Oy

For more information, visit: https://puuinfo.fi/arkkitehtuuri/puupalkinto-yleisoaanestys/lukio-ja-kulttuuritalo-monio/

Honorable mention to Honkasuo Aarreaitat

Honkasuo Aarreaitat received an honorable mention from the jury. From its very beginning, this log-based row house concept in Helsinki’s Honkasuo district set itself a strict goal of being carbon negative, meaning the carbon handprint needed to be larger than the carbon footprint. The natural construction method used in Aarreaitat has indeed piqued the curiosity of construction industry professionals, consumers, and the media alike.

Aarreaitat wanted to use materials and techniques that were immediately available as well as uncomplicated solutions that use a narrow range of materials. The core concept is built around Finnish wood, Finnish craftsmanship, and minimal building technology (gravity-based ventilation) that is further enhanced by the site’s own renewable energy production.

Photograph: Rakennusasiaintoimisto Aarre Oy

The jury’s statement on the honorable mention:

The project honours its values of sustainable development and offers a solution for climate-aware and resource-efficient living. It also sets an example in using wood to mitigate climate change.

Responsible, dedicated, and committed, with an unyielding process from concept to completion. The strong, unique identity of the wooden construction straddles the line between modern and traditional. The project shows that wooden solutions have potential for improving resource efficiency and strengthening the circular economy.

and the project’s and its team’s principles of responsible construction are exemplary. It has taken the team enormous courage to build a complex according to their own values despite the financial risks involved.

Honkasuo Aarreaitat is representative of uncomplicated “folk architecture” that forgoes the need for unnecessary architectural detailing.

For more information, visit: https://puuinfo.fi/arkkitehtuuri/puupalkinto-yleisoaanestys/honkasuon-aarreaitat/

Award jury

The final winner of the 2023 Wood Award was selected by a jury consisting of architect SAFA Asko Takala, president of the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), architect SAFA Matti Lakkala, a university teacher at the University of Oulu’s architecture unit, architect SAFA Simon le Roux, wood program specialist at the Ministry of the Environment of Finland, and architect SAFA Karola Sahi, a lecturer at the Department of Architecture at Aalto University. Read more about the jury.

People’s Choice Award: Turku Market Square Pavilions

The Turku Market Square Pavilions were designed with the specific goal of improving the cityscape by creating more intimate, people-friendly spaces in Turku’s market square and simultaneously connecting the underground parking facility to the urban locale above it.

Photograph: Tuomas Uusheimo

Nestled on the edges of the market square, the pavilion buildings split the square’s vast open space into smaller subsections. There are a total of three pavilions on the market square, the largest along Eerikinkatu street and two smaller ones by Kauppiaskatu and Aurakatu streets.

The pavilions appear to grow from the ground like trees, connecting the subterranean parking garage to the market above. Stairs, shafts, kitchens, and building technology are all concealed inside the windowless “tree trunks”. The roof structures blend seamlessly into the wooden trunks, creating people-friendly meeting spots both indoors and outdoors that have the feel of being sheltered by a forest canopy. The market pavilions combine stairwells, building technology, and a variety of restaurant and business spaces into each structure.

Architectural design | Schauman & Nordgren Architects & Arco Architecture Company

For more information, visit: https://puuinfo.fi/arkkitehtuuri/puupalkinto-yleisoaanestys/turun-kauppatorin-toripaviljongit/

Nominees for 2023

The Wood Award competition received 29 submissions by the deadline, from which the preliminary jury selected 12 nominations for the Wood Award and for the People’s Choice Award. 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.

Pictures downloadable for informational use: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qs43BYEubTGQkQ0QBXBZLuglKz3MtqWV?usp=sharing


Background of the 26th Wood Award

The Wood Award is awarded annually to commemorate 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 26th 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.

Previous winners of the Wood Award: