Client: KOy Metsätapiola
Location: Espoo, Finland
Year of completion: 2012
Gross area: 26 000 brm²
The subject is part of an estate complex owned by the Metsäliitto Cooperative and also part of the regeneration of South Tapiola. Some old turnkey exposed-aggregaate concrete houses from the 70's have been demolished, a new office building has appeared, some buildings are being renovated, and a new group of housing blocks is being built. The essential starting point is the location in Tapiola, which has a valuable tradition of humane dialogue between architecture and nature. The facades are structured as abstract metaphors of birch forest with varying vertical angles. An important consequence of this is a great variety of interiors, rhythms, and fluid sea views. At the same time it avoids, both within and without, the institutional atmosphere normally associated with office construction and its combination of a seemingly rational use of space with technical systematics.
Work is focused on open spaces, where team space, floor conference rooms, fixed small spaces, and meeting rooms support the needs of a modern and changeable work community. The use of daylight is strongly stressed as a means of saving energy. Open spaces are grouped to look over the sea and detached rooms over the yard.
Wood plays a central role as a prominent material in offices and meeting rooms, and in their furnishings. The old and new office spaces are joined by a single-story restaurant and multipurpose space, the architecture of which is based on the finest products of the Metsä Group's own industry. It was intended that the space should be operationally as flexible in use and column free as possible.
The main supports are trestles, in which the pillars are made from milled laminated veneer timber and the double beams from gluelam. Skylights open between the trestles, while the secondary infills are insulated wooden panels. Highly finished components were brought to the site and the demanding installation and finishing completed in a very short period.
For the interior spaces, development of the expressive main supports required consideration of many options and cost analyses, as well as visual, structural and analogue modelling. There was intensive and interesting cooperation between the architect and the production organization's structural designer.