May 6, 2022

05/03/2022 – Timber Construction makes happy

Since the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures in winter is a good 40 degrees, the insulation of homes is a major issue in Finland. Since the 1990s, there has been an increasing focus on solid wood houses, as they have proven their worth in balancing air and heat and, on top of that, create a comfortable living atmosphere. It is even rumored that wood as a building material makes the Finns the happiest people in the world.

Companies such as Honka and Polarlifehouse successfully build modern log houses for the Finnish and European markets. By dispensing with additional insulating material and traditional cross corners, they create a contemporary image of a traditional house type and thus strike a chord with a growing customer base from both an aesthetic and functional point of view. Pure wood is an integral part of the Scandinavian design language, creating a natural living environment that is free of questionable substances and recyclable by type.

In addition, it has been found that heavily insulated houses in Finland react to the large temperature difference of -20°C outside in winter and 20°C inside with mold. Wood can overcome this challenge, which is why Finland has been focusing on building with wood since the 1990s. In the economic crisis of the 1990s, people turned back to green gold – as wood is also known in Finland – and specifically promoted its use. In particular, kindergarten and school buildings in Finland are almost exclusively made of timber – a fact that the wood industry proudly considers a contribution to the happiness of its countrymen.

More than 70% of Finland's land is covered with forest. Most of it is privately owned. The families who manage the forests do not live from the sale of wood alone, but they still manage the forests in a sustainable way. Because with the increasing popularity of the building material, anything other than sustainable management would be unattractive.

In order for architects to be able to use timber construction skilfully, and thus not least to promote the acceptance of timber buildings in society, educational initiatives have been established, and courses of study and research projects have been set up. Most kindergartens and schools in Finland are built of wood, and examples such as the Wood City in Helsinki are fascinating because of their connection to the traditional wooden city and the use of state-of-the-art technologies.

We would like to thank our guests Mika Askola from Polarlifehouse, Daniel Langer from Honkarakenne, Janne Pihlajaniemi, professor at the University of Oulu, Seppo Romppainen from the Finnish Log House Industry and Petri Sirviö from Business Oulu for the insight into Finnish timber construction and the interesting discussions! Together with IntCDC, digitize wood organized a tour of the workshops and presentation of the ongoing projects as well as exchange with our guests on 03.05.2022.

digitize wood is based at the Cluster of Excellence IntCDC at the University of Stuttgart and is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection (MLR) as part of the BW Timber Construction Initiative.