The movable Aarnivalkea school was completed in Tapiola, Espoo in early autumn 2019. The school and its surroundings were an Elementit-E Oy turnkey project from design to completion.
On our way to Tapiola’s new Aarnivalkea School, we cannot help but think of Tapiola’s reputation as the Garden City and wonder how the new school will fit into its well-known surroundings.
A white two-storey school building with clear lines awaits us at our destination, its pillar facade facing green fields and a pond. Geese pitter-patter on the field, and locals jog along the light traffc pathway that passes in front of the school. The school fits the environment to a tee, as if it had always been there.
The building consists of 50 large modules that were preassembled at factory in spring 2019. Only installation and finishing were needed on site. The new school has room for 350 students, and the facilities also allow for pre-school education.
The building has a skeleton frame, and even the base floor is wood. A ventilated base floor of this type is easy to inspect and maintain in Finnish weather conditions. The first floor roof was preinstalled at the factory onto the volumetric element, so the building was immediately shielded from the weather once the were in place. The Dry Chain 10 model was used for this project.
The school has been designed to be a modern space that is easily modified according to the new requirements for learn ing environments. The large modules vary in size from 60 to 80 square metres, with the OT3-sized teaching area consisting of a single module.
The teaching areas can be converted into separate spaces of different sizes or kept open or something in between for small groups, for example. Natural light is an important element that flows into the space through large interior windows.
The school is a so-called “sock school”, meaning that students leave their outdoor footwear near the front door. Textile carpeting covers the floor of the upper storey. Carpeting has made a recent comeback with a modern array of materials that dampen noise and make cleaning easier.
The construction meets the Aitokoulu brand requirements and regulations for permanent buildings, which means that the school has a technical lifecycle of at least 50 years. Today’s modern building technology adds its own comforts: the indoor and outdoor lighting can be adjusted according to the prevailing conditions, for example. Technically speaking, the school is also fully movable, and its materials and production support a modern circular economy. Wood schools have climate benefits.
The project involved the construction of a school from design to completion, including landscaping and playground equipment. Schoolyards have an increasingly active role as learning environments in the outdoors, and the Aarnivalkea School’s surroundings are no exception.
Project in brief
- Location | Tapiola, Espoo
- Purpose | School
- Constructor/Client | City of Espoo / Facilities services
- Architectural Design | Arkilla Oy
- Structural design | Ri-Plan Oy
- Contractor | KVR contractor: Elementit-E Oy
- Wood component supplier | Elementit-E Oy
- Interior design | Sistem Oy
- Electrical design | Sähköasennus Espo Ky
- HVAC design | Positio Oy
- Volume | 12 290 m3
- Floor area | 3 034 m2
- Total area | 3 058 m2
- Year completed | 2019
- Photographs | Mikael Lindén
- Text | Veli Hyyryläinen