In accordance with its Green and Sustainable Kemi policy, the city of Kemi built a new daycare centre by the sea. Completed in October 2021, the Pajarinranta daycare centre is the world’s largest daycare centre built from logs.
Read the article in Finnish: Pajarinrannan päiväkoti
When deciding on the daycare centre’s placement on the plot, the team wanted to retain as much of the splendid views and the good connections to the park and the sea as possible. The playground in the building’s inner corner faces the sea
and was built to inspire children’s play with its haptically and aesthetically pleasing structures. The heather turf and natural vegetation planted for them connect the children to their natural surroundings. Traffic to the service area and staff parking is separated completely from nearby bicycle and pedestrian paths and parents’ drop-off routes.
The building’s spatial solutions emphasise flexibility, versatility and clarity. Play areas and group spaces of different sizes provide suitable stimuli for children to play, be creative, or calm down. Everyday life has been made easier through design: for example, the mud rooms have been designed to let children get in and out as smoothly as possible. The lobby areas have an abundance of convenient spaces for playing in small groups and storing clothes.
The building is divided into four cells, each with room for three groups. The cafeteria and its neighbouring gymnasium with their five-meter high ceilings are at the heart of the building. These rooms are separated only by a folding door that can be opened for extra space as necessary.
The building also has a night care ward for up to 10 children, located near the home-style kitchen, cafeteria, and multipurpose hall. The height variations in the spaces are intentional. They create an assortment of atriums, nooks and crannies where children can focus on creativity and learning.
A vast glass wall connects the cafeteria to the surrounding ocean views. The multipurpose hall is extensively equipped for children’s exercise. Evening use is also taken into account with a separate entrance and changing room to ensure that events do not disturb educational activities.
With its vibrant colours and detailing, the exterior architecture celebrates the playful and lively mind of a child. The colours also conveniently divide the rather large building into parts, making it easier to fathom. Varied openings and detailing give the facade an eye-catching, vibrant rhythm.
The city of Kemi built a new daycare centre in Pajarinranta from 2017 to 2021. At the behest of a council initiative, solid wood and logs in particular were chosen as the building material.
Following a call for tenders, the project was implemented as a turnkey contract using the Design and Build model. The tendering call included a preliminary plan that centred on creating a daycare environment that was clear, streamlined, and safe with enjoyable outside areas for the children. The end result is the world’s largest daycare centre built from logs.
Construction took place under weather protection. The plot is right on the seafront where the wind always pushes the rain sideways, causing it to hit the plot at an angle. The log frame was assembled in late autumn and early winter when rain and snow took turns at making conditions difficult.
The building’s heating solution is a hybrid that combines four air-to-water heat pumps with district heating. For electricity, the roof has a solar panel system that generates enough power to cover the base load.
According to feedback from the client and users, the building is echo-free with excellent acoustics. Particular attention was paid to the design and implementation of the sound insulation between the rooms. All ceilings are fully covered with acoustic materials, and acoustic wall panels were used in cosy nooks for older children as well as in conference rooms and the gymnasium.
The log surface is treated with just a single coating of wax, which keeps the surroundings light and pleasant. Health and safety featured prominently in the building’s design. The children’s toilets have automatic taps in the washbasins, and the handles on the intermediate doors are antibacterial. Folding walls make it possible to divide and connect spaces, making the entire building extremely versatile.
Fire compartments are all under 400 m2, which means the building meets the P3 fire class requirements despite its relatively large size. This in turn means that there are no treatment restrictions for the log surfaces indoors, allowing the designers to leave as much visible wood surface as they wanted. Over 50% of the walls are built from logs. Logs were used extensively in partitioning walls, including in the lobby and various group facilities.
The building’s automatic fire alarm system is connected to the emergency centre. For ventilation, there is one centralised equipment room in the middle of the T-shaped building, on the first floor.
Avario is an architectural firm specialising in the design of daycare, school, and elderly care buildings all over Finland. Avario is the first architectural studio that has been awarded the EcoCompass certificate. The company is committed to save natural resources and increase positive environmental impacts.
The acoustic design of the building has been carried out by A-Insinöörit Suunnittelu Oy, Finland’s leading provider of sound insulation calculation services for wooden structures.
Project in brief
Pajarinranta daycare centre
- Location | Kemi
- Purpose | Daycare centre
- Constructor/Client | City of Kemi
- Valmistumisvuosi | 2021
- Floor area | 2 073 m2
- Total area | 2 160 m2
- Volume | 9 290 m3
- Investointikustannukset | 5900000€
- Architectural Design | Avario Oy
- Structural design | Insinööri- ja arkkitehtitoimisto Palola & Piispanen Oy
- Akustiikkasuunnittelu | A-insinöörit Suunnittelu Oy
- LVIA-suunnittelu | Rakennusliike Lapti Oy
- Electrical design | Rakennusliike Lapti Oy
- Interior design | Avario Oy
- Pääurakoitsija | Rakennusliike Lapti Oy
- Wood component supplier | Log structure: Kontiotuote Oy
- Photographs | Asko Leinonen, Petteri Löppönen
- Text | Matti Haikola, Kaisa-Mari Immonen and Puuinfo