Comments about the Tuupala school
Marjut Kyllönen, Principal Tuupala Comprehensive School, Kuhmo, since August 1, 2020
We are Proud of our School
The atmosphere and environment in the wooden school are very different compared to the old school. The beautiful architecture and the wood around us make the space calm and harmonious. Even the over 500 students from grades 1st-9th have noticed the decreased noise levels that the wood surfaces result.
The user experiences have been only positive. In the old school, we had a lot of students and teachers showing symptoms consistent with poor indoor air quality, but that has all changed. We are currently participating in research examining wood’s health benefits compared to traditional construction materials such as concrete.
We are proud of this school because
It is our own thing
Many people coming in here have been surprised how nice and clean the wood surfaces have remained. The students and teachers talked about maintaining the walls when we first came here to the new building. The students appreciate the beauty of the natural wood and all the brand new furniture and equipment around them, and they take good care of their learning environment.
My favorite thing about this school is the green lobby and the beautiful wooden, open space it leads. That’s where we have our meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and various events with students.
We are proud of this school because it is our own thing. I like coming to work here every morning.
Sari Rusanen, Executive Director, Kuhmo Chamber Music
We are still learning
When the planning for the new school began in Kuhmo, it was clear that chamber music will be played there. The school was intended to replace Kontio School, which had become a traditional location of the annual Chamber Music event. We are still learning the differences wood does to acoustics and it will take some time before we can maximize its benefits in our music. The Chamber Music Festival is a 50-year-old tradition so I am certain that in the next 50 years, we will learn to use the new space as effectively as the old one.
The wood makes the music fill the whole space in
A beautiful way
Combining the school gym and chamber music was a challenge to the architects, construction staff, and acoustic planners. The space is covered with wall panels that double as acoustic units. We have considered things such as the placement of chairs, how the stage works, and how to adjust the acoustics with the curtains to create the best musical experience. The wood makes the music fill the whole space in a beautiful way.
We have three wooden buildings that are utilized in the biggest chamber music event in Finland. Kuhmo wooden church, built in 1816, Kuhmotalo (1993), and now the Tuupala school that was finished in 2018. Every building has its own spirit and we always carefully consider what type of music will be played in each of the spaces. Our town is surrounded by music around the year and we are used to seeing well-known international artists around ever since the inaugural event in 1970.
The better the user needs can be met,
The better the building will be
The architecture and aesthetics of the wood school attract new visitors to the festival. We get a lot of guests who are interested in architecture and how acoustics work in this type of building. This is also one of our important practice spaces in the festival which means the whole building is filled with music every day almost around the clock throughout the event.
When planning a new building, you have to consider the purposes it will be used for. The better the user needs can be met, the better the building will be. Wood construction is important in the age of sustainable development and we have worked hard towards it here in Kuhmo. I believe that once people set their values around the trend of sustainability, an ecological, carbon binding building will be a significant competitive edge for us also in the future.
Tytti Määttä, Mayor of Kuhmo
The New School Gave a Boost to Local Economics
Researches have estimated that wood construction generates almost triple the amount invested. Our 11 million € project investment turned into 30 million euros for Kuhmo region economics. These effects are due to the forest revenue, wood acquisitions, transportations, and the manufacturing of the wooden parts. The primary goal of the school was to decrease the environmental impacts of the construction process and we saw wood as an opportunity to so.
The Goal is to Decrease
The Negative Environmental Effect of Construction
There are lots of preconceptions about wood construction, such as the difficulty, cost, and quality but we were able to overcome them all. The project ended up being under budget and even less expensive than what it would have been using more traditional materials. We faced a lot of challenges due to this being the first school in Finland built with CLT solid wood panels. We have received a lot of positive feedback on the building speed that is mostly made possible because of the pre-manufactured parts as well as the ability to maintain the dry chain throughout the project.
People are always convinced of the quality when they come to visit the school. The architecture is beautiful and Finns are attracted to natural, wooden surfaces. The beauty of the finished wooden exterior is highlighted all over this building and it creates a unique atmosphere and environment. You could say that the spirit of Kuhmo is present here.
Carbon Binding is a Bonus
I hope that this school acts as an example and encouragement to other towns and cities to build more public buildings using wood. The more wooden kindergartens, schools, and healthcare centers we get in Finland, the better we can demonstrate their overall positive impacts internationally. It is important that we can compare the costs of the building throughout its whole lifecycle. The ability to bind carbon makes this project an act of environmental politics.
Better indoor air - less stress
Research done in Tuupala school in Kuhmo indicates that wood buildings have a stress-reducing effect. Research results are promising, and we can undoubtedly say that the school is an excellent learning environment.
Wood surfaces are calming
I believe that the effect aesthetics have on building calmness is a factor that will be taken into account more in future researches. Measurement results indicate that Tuupala school was quieter than the class in the comparison school.
Current researches very well indicate that wood is a healthy building material. The results get verified as more calculations accumulate and studies are published. We can say, with certainty, that Tuupala school is a good, peaceful, and pleasant learning environment, and the students are less stressed than students of the comparison school.