Tokyo features Finnish wooden architecture with the elegant Metsä Pavilion
The wooden Metsä Pavilion is to be used by Finnish athletes and companies during the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020.
The building will be made entirely from Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) elements. This pavilion is an example of innovative architecture based on industrially manufactured wooden elements. The pavilion has been designed by world-renowned Finnish architect Pekka Helin from Helin & Co Architects. The pavilion will be built by Metsä Group in collaboration with Business Finland.
Pekka Helin describes the design process as an interesting and challenging project. The stylish pavilion will be made from industrially manufactured Kerto LVL elements. It must also be easy to dismantle to be relocated for assembly and use elsewhere. This affected the design of the connections between the elements, as well as their size and transport.
“The pavilion needed to be based on industrial products, instead of being a complicated, fancy structure,” Helin explains. “We needed to figure out how to create an elegant building from industrial elements.”
Japan has long traditions in timber construction, which served as an inspiration during the design process. The Metsä Pavilion is an example of unique, beautiful architecture based on industrial wooden elements.
“In Japan, the construction of buildings makes use of the natural flexibility of wood in case of earthquakes. This is combined with ancient Japanese aesthetics and minimalist sophistication. These qualities can also be found here in the north. This was my inspiration as I began to design the Metsä Pavilion,” says Helin.
The environmentally friendly Kerto LVL brings the benefits of wood to construction
Made from Metsä Wood’s lightweight and dimensionally stable Kerto LVL products, the wooden elements make it possible to build quickly in an environmentally friendly manner.
“It’s valuable in itself to design something permanent. Here this is combined with a new type of opportunity when wooden element buildings are made movable to meet a wider demand through reuse,” says Helin.
Engineered wood products, as construction materials, are durable and environmentally friendly. Kerto LVL is manufactured from a renewable raw material grown in sustainably managed Northern forests. In addition, wood as a building material is a long-term carbon store.
“The key benefits of wood construction include ecological aspects and sustainable development, which are critical these days,” Helin points out. “A large amount of carbon dioxide is stored quite permanently and is not released for a long time. In addition, wooden structures or timber construction do not cause any harmful emissions in residential or working environments.”
Fast, light and green construction with Kerto LVL
The Metsä Pavilion highlights the opportunities of wooden element construction on challenging urban sites. The challenge in the design of the pavilion was its location in the area of the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo. The building needed to be designed on top and around an existing garage on the embassy site. In practice, prefabricated wooden elements were the only option.
“Limitations of this type really challenge your imagination,” Helin says with a laugh. “Metsä Wood has excellent expertise. They know which dimensions make sense with various elements and which parts can be connected or further processed. In addition, the components are optimised with production dimensions to ensure that the process is as ecological as possible, with no waste.”
Elements made from Kerto LVL products are lightweight and environmentally friendly, as well as speeding up construction. The industrially manufactured elements are shipped in containers to Japan, where the pavilion can be put together quickly on-site.
“You can create anything with Kerto LVL!” says Helin. “I have always emphasised that simple wooden structures are ideal for small-scale residential construction and, at the other end of the continuum, for large sports halls, office buildings, airports, day-care centres and schools.”
Element designs are available at Open Source Wood
Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood is a collaboration platform for architects and construction design professionals to share their wood construction innovations. The purpose of the initiative is to promote the sharing of knowledge and cooperation between professionals in wood construction.
All of the elements used in the design of the Metsä Pavilion are free for download at Opensourcewood.com.