The new pearl of the European Forestry Capital – Mehtimäki’s wooden multipurpose stadium
Joensuu’s positive attitude towards the construction of sport facilities and the successful run of Finnish baseball there have resulted in the Mehtimäki sports park receiving an impressive addition in the form of a wooden multipurpose stadium. Chiefly used for Finnish baseball, the facility could be considered an offspring of the Joensuu Areena and a big brother of the central sports field’s wooden stands.
The intention was to create a stadium that would serve both as a Finnish baseball stadium and as a venue for concerts and other events. No great compromises in form and structure needed to be made. The arena is quite unique in Finland, not to mention in the rest of the world, because Finnish baseball is very seldom played outside of Finland.
The stadium was put to the test almost immediately upon completion: it hosted the Finnish baseball East vs. West series at the turn of June and July, and measured up well. Singer Vesa-Matti Loiri’s performance in the stadium in August showed it also works well as a concert venue.
It was obvious right from the beginning that wood would be used as in the load-bearing structure and as a surface material. Fire safety challenges are a part of any wood structure, but collaboration with building inspectors and fire services was able to resolve any issues in the project.
The stadium seating area has heated and partially heated spaces in addition to the unheated spaces that make up the majority. The partially heated spaces have been constructed in a way that allows them to be taken into use as needed when it is cold outside. This way, use of the unheated spaces can be extended into the spring and autumn. Since the wall structures need to work in two directions as weather conditions change, many of the building’s partition walls have an exterior wall structure.
There are more than 2 500 seats under the stadium roof. The concession stands, dressing rooms, toilets, and storage facilities are at the field level. The intermediate level has multipurpose facilities for 200 people. There is a sports bar on the top level for approximately 100 people, and corporate and society box seating for about 100 people. The stadium has an elevator for those with reduced mobility and also for material logistics.
In addition to the previously mentioned issues, the short construction time and construction over the winter introduced their own challenges. However, the users and the client are all pleased with the end result, for which special thanks is owed to the contractors and site foreman.
Construction of the stadium required 1 325 m3 glulam/LVL, over 10 km of sawn timber, 17.5 km of facade lathing, and 9 500 m2 of plywood and other fibreboard, not to mention almost half a million screws. Over 70 people were employed on the stadium construction site at the high point.
Project in brief
Mehtimäki multipurpose stadium
- Location | Joensuu
- Purpose | Multipurpose, Finnish baseball stadium
- Constructor/Client | Joensuun Pesäpallon tukisäätiö sr
- Volume | 5 100 m3
- Investointikustannukset | 2500000€
- Architectural Design | Markku Korjonen, Akkitehtitoimisto Lappalainen & Korjonen Oy
- Structural design | A-Insinöörit Oy Joensuu
- LVIA-suunnittelu | Insinööritoimisto Kurkinen Oy
- Electrical design | Sähkösuunnittelu Juha Eskelinen Oy
- Wood component supplier | Versowood Oy
- Photographs | Joona-Pekka Hirvonen
- Text | Markku Korjonen