Markku Pääkkönen, Project Manager 2014–2018

Tuupala school was an interesting project

Tuupala school has been an interesting project in every way. I have been in the field for 35 years but built using concrete. The technique in wood construction was new to the designers, constructors, and contractors, and we faced new challenges every day. The floor structures were challenging, mostly because we had to solve the vibration between each floor of the building. We solved problems with teamwork, and it is safe to say that the outcome speaks for itself.

Weather protection is

The best thing that has happened in the construction in years

The major differences between building with concrete and wood are the lightness of wood in the installation phase as well as the finished surface of the solid wood panels. The construction site was protected from weather, and the building process was unbelievably quiet.

Weather protection is the best thing that has happened in the construction business in years. It should be used in every form of construction, not just when using wood. The project documents state that we must follow the dry chain at the construction site. The CLT panels are delivered to us protected and we unload them covered as well. The construction site was covered by 60 000 m3 of tenting, which provided us with great and safe working conditions.

We discussed carbon binding a lot, and its meaning has only grown since the project. The building stores a lot of carbon, and if it will ever be torn down, it can be repurposed. This was an ecological solution and an answer to the challenges public construction face.

Ecological factors, architecture, and acoustics make this a special place we are happy to introduce to everyone.

Antti Karsikas, Architect

Interesting project for an architect

It certainly aroused my interest and curiosity because CLT solid wood panels were not that known material in public construction at the time. Since the first CLT factory in Finland was set up in Kuhmo, it really was inspiring considering the materials would be manufactured locally using local wood. Designing was just as interesting and exciting bearing in mind that no other architect had not designed a CLT building on this scale. I felt like I had to dive in at the deep end from the beginning.

Solid wood is a

Lighter material

I was positively surprised by the process of building with solid wood. It is lighter as a material which made acoustic planning challenging. The building process itself was more comparable to a traditional element construction and we were able to apply similar rules throughout that process.

The serene atmosphere in the school building is intentional and it is more distinct in open learning environments such as this. Students and the various school activities naturally create a lot of sounds so the foundation itself needs to be peaceful and quiet. When the lobby is untouched and nearly sacred, there are no stimuli to make any additional noise.

There is so much public discussion about carbon binding in construction that this building keeps feeling relevant. Ecological factors and indoor air quality in public construction are constantly relevant topics. This school reflects the values of our architect office as well as my personal principles. In addition to the high-class architecture, this building is ecological, healthy, and local. I personally like to highlight the environmentally friendly characteristics. 

Heikki Ainasoja, Structural Designer

CLT as the construction material on this scale was new

Starting this project we knew that using solid wood would bring us a whole new set of challenges to the structural design process. We faced a lot of surprises and while the main areas were well under control, we were fighting small battles from beginning to end. The final product is a team effort and we can be proud of it.

I joined as the structural designer through public bidding. At that point, this was meant to be a concrete school but once the plans changed we were able to adjust our bid to reflect wood construction.

One of the main requirements for a successful project on this scale is

Strong teamwork

There are not many large public buildings made of wood in Finland which is why my initial thoughts were a little skeptical, but we still wanted to be a part of the project. While we were experienced in wood construction, CLT as the construction material on this scale was new to us.

The scale of structural design in wood buildings is much broader than in traditional construction, where you can rely on standardized structural systems and solutions. Compared to concrete construction we had to start over and the number of details made the planning process more arduous than normally.

The biggest challenges wood brought to the planning process were acoustics and fire safety. The building is class B1, which means that in 60 minutes, the wood can burn about 50 mm unless the wood structure is protected from all sides. That required about 100 mm additional width on each side of the structures.

One of the main requirements for a successful project of this scale is strong teamwork among all parties in the project. Based on the user feedback it is safe to say we were successful. Wood as the dominant material makes the atmosphere special and it is always great to come back here.