In 2012, Pudasjärvi, a town surrounded by string fens and wilderness, decided to bring its schools and community college to one location and have a new log-structured campus built to house them. One aim in the use of timber was to prevent moisture and indoor air quality problems similar to those that the school buildings had experienced before. It was also an eco-friendly choice and provided work for a local log supplier.
The campus was implemented as a life-cycle project in which the main contractor was Lemminkäinen Oyj and the supplier of the log frame Kontiotuote Oy. The building consists of four sections in a setting of two wings. The frame of one section is made of reinforced concrete because it accommodates a civil defence shelter and kitchen facilities. As the exterior walls of this section are wood-cladded, it fits well with the rest of the building. The space is divided into small entities that children are able to comprehend. The regular classrooms are situated in two single-storey sections; the primary school in one, and the secondary school in the other. The special classrooms and the administrative and student welfare facilities are located in the two-storey sections. Between the two-storey sections, there is a central hall that also serves as the school canteen. The building complex surrounds a sheltered, sunny yard with a view to the Iijoki river.
Except for the section with a concrete frame, all the walls of the building are made of logs: exterior walls of 275mm, and partition walls of 275mm, 205mm and 130mm laminated logs. The rooves of the main hall and of the roof lanterns are supported by glulam pillars with different shapes. In the interior, the logs have been coated with a transparent preservative. Boldly coloured boards used in the fixtures and for covering settling gaps bring colour to the rooms. The board cladding of the facades has also been enlivened with bold colours. On the other hand, the colour palette of the log surfaces is more downto- earth.
In the single-storey sections, the classrooms are small “log cottages” with windows and doors. The spaces between the cottages serve as open teaching and learning spaces. They receive natural light through large roof lanterns. Some of the teaching spaces receive natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows. The roof lanterns between the two-storey sections also provide light to the first-floor corridors.
A special aspect in the design of a log building is how to address the challenge of log settling. Especially the question of how the roof shared by the concrete-structured and log-structured sections and the passageway between them would behave over the course of years required lot of consideration, but excellent solutions were found in the end. During the design process, another challenge was how fire safety regulations should be interpreted in the design of a log-structured school building. The positive attitude of the authorities helped to solve this problem. Cross-laminated timber elements were used in the intermediate floors and the banisters of the main hall stairways.
One special feature that draws attention in the building is the excellent acoustics created by the log walls. The harmonious appearance of the interior surfaces and pleasant scent of wood also provide excellent conditions for a good learning environment.
Project in brief
Pudasjärvi Log Campus
- Location | Pudasjärvi
- Purpose | School
- Constructor/Client | City of Pudasjärvi
- Architectural Design | Arkkitehtitoimisto Lukkaroinen Oy
- Structural design | Sweco Rakennetekniikksa Oy
- Contractor | Lemminkäinen Oyj
- Wood component supplier | Kontiotuote Oy
- Interior design | Arkkitehtitoimisto Lukkaroinen Oy
- Electrical design | Sweco Talotekniikka Oy
- HVAC design | Plan-Air Oy
- Volume | 32 200 m3
- Year completed | 2016
- Photographs | Raimo Ahonen
- Text | Pekka Lukkaroinen