Haltia is surrounded by the staples of Finnish nature: bedrock, a lake and forest. On its northern side, the building sits on a steep cliff. To the south, the building overlooks a lake.
Haltia is located on the shore of Lake Pitkäjärvi next to Nuuksio National Park in Espoo, 30 km from Helsinki. Haltia provides exhibition, restaurant and conference services for an estimated 200,000 visitors per year. Activities are aimed at visitors who are interested in nature, the outdoors, and the significance of nature for Finland’s cultural and economic life.
Haltia settles into the steep slope so that every floor has direct access from outside. The lowest floor houses educational facilities, the middle floor (where the main entrance is located) houses the reception and exhibition spaces, and the top floor a restaurant. The auditorium, with its slanted floor, connects the two top floors.
On the south side of the building, a full-wall terrace gives continuity to the inner spaces and offers a beautiful view of Nuuksio. The long balcony also helps to keep the interiors cool. All other facades are covered by a closed curving wooden wall, which houses the exhibition spaces.
The facilities are versatile, flexible and adaptable. Environmentally friendly solutions were taken into consideration already during the design phase. The building uses both geothermal and solar heating. The roof of the building where solar collectors and panels are located is decked with grass.
The structures above the concrete ground floor were built from cross-laminated timber. The intermediate roof and the roof, as well as the wall elements, were installed prefabricated. The external cladding is made of water-glass impregnated varnished spruce. The internal cladding is made of spruce with a fine-sawn waxed surface or CLT board, and the floors are varnished ash.
In Haltia’s design, curving lines meet a rectangular, rational world. The arched and straight lines exhibit the various solutions of building with wood: the possibilities of joinery as well as the combination of on-site building with straight-lined prefabrication, in addition to the various traditional and modern wood processing methods.
Finnish Wood Award 2013
Project in brief
Nature Centre Haltia
- Location | Nuuksio, Espoo
- Purpose | Museum, restaurant and conference rooms
- Constructor/Client | Nuuksiokeskus Oy
- Architectural Design | Lahdelma & Mahlamäki architects
- Structural design | Insinööritoimisto Tanskanen Oy
- Contractor | YIT Rakennus Oy
- Wood component supplier | Stora Enso, Eridomic Oy
- Total area | 3 534 m2
- Year completed | 2013
- Costs | 16 700 000€
- Photographs | Mika Huisman
- Text | Rainer Mahlamäki