What is the new era of construction?

Kimmo Rönkä, a specialist in the housing of the future, envisions a new era of construction that will bring people closer to nature.

In the Kivisilta area, there will be a park substation designed by industrial design student Pekka Vottonen. The cladding is made of wood. | Image: Keravan Energia

Kimmo Rönkä, what is the new era of construction? 

We only have one planet, so we need to change our over-consuming ways. We need to change our everyday lives if we are to combat the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. In this new era, residential areas will have a more local focus with increased self-sufficiency in energy and food. Geothermal heat and solar panels will become standard, and residents of low-rise housing areas will create shared energy communities. Parks and backyards will grow edible plants for the benefit of people, animals, and even insects. In short, the new era of construction will integrate people into their natural surroundings.

One of the themes in Kivisilta is the circular economy. How could circular economy solutions be leveraged better in future?

Everything starts from circular economy architecture, meaning that house design plays a significant role. We are slowly easing out of today’s throwaway culture. New buildings should be as long-lasting as possible, and we should repair rather than renew as much as possible. This means that construction components also need to be repairable and replaceable.

Visual artist Vesa-Pekka Rannikko has designed an artwork named ’Heimo’ for the central square of Kivisilta. The piece draws inspiration from the plants and landscape of the area. | Image: Vesa-Pekka Rannikko

Wooden construction is a prevailing theme in Kivisilta. How do you see the future of wood construction in Finland? 

Wood has enormous advantages – it is durable, carbon sequestering, light, and renewable. With Finland’s lengthy tradition of building out of wood, the spotlight can shift onto our old wooden cities and hopefully also Kivisilta, a herald of the new era.

Read the article in Finnish here.


Kimmo Rönkä specialises in future housing and provides consulting services through his own company. Kimmo’s role in the new era construction festival is to curate research, development, and innovation perspectives to be presented in various seminars and discussion sessions by the country’s top researchers.