FMO Tapiola: Prefab Wood Office Building in Finland

They have a lot of wood in Finland, and a lot of very talented modernist architects to use it. The FMO (Finnforest Modular Office) Tapiola Building, winner of Finland's top wood design award, is built from sustainably harvested wood, prefabricated in modular elements. - the facade is made from 1200 factory produced parts combined with 17,000 individually machined wooden parts. Says structural engineer Jukka Ala-Ojala:"The wooden structures are complicated and as wooden technology has not been used to this extent before, it has been a steep learning curve for the whole team One particular achievement was convincing the authorities that the building would meet the stringent European safety codes.With no previous experience of such a complicated wooden structure in office construction, they were particularly concerned about the fire risk." Pekka Helin, the primary architect, is confident about the popularity of wood in modern projects: "A modern wooden office building shows how wood can meet today's architectural demands for more 'human' and environmentally-friendly structures. I see a bright international future for such buildings as the wood renaissance continues. " ::Finnforest

Notes from Finnforest about the benefits of using wood for construction:

Wood is the only 100% renewable building material.

Wood serves as a carbon sink by absorbing and binding carbon dioxide. One cubic meter of wood stores nearly one ton of carbon dioxide. The storage process of carbon dioxide continues inside the wood products through their entire life cycle.

Producing and refining wood products is very energy efficient. Over 75% of used energy is gained through burning forest industry by-products, such as woodchips and sawdust.

Recyclable wood products can alternatively be burned to utilize their bio-energy. The carbon returned to the atmosphere during combustion, is equal to that absorbed during the growth of the tree — a perfect cycle.

The substitution effect of wood products has a significant impact on construction industry's carbon dioxide emissions. The use of wood products replaces building materials that would have required a great deal of fossil energy to produce.

The use of one cubic meter of wood products in FMO Tapiola reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 3 — 5 tons compared to the use of other conventional building materials. Nearly 2,400 m³ of wood products were used in building FMO Tapiola.

The origin of wood products is easy to trace with the help of extensive certification system. Wood products' raw materials are thus coming from forests which meet the high standards of ecologically, socially and economically sustainable forest management.

The wood products used in FMO Tapiola bind nearly 2,400 tons of carbon dioxide.

Depending on materials, a substitutive product for wooden structures would have caused 7,200 — 12,000 tons ore carbon dioxide emissions.

According to framework's planned life span, the carbon dioxide bound in FMO Tapiola's structures will be stored at the very least the next 100 years.

The value of reduced CO2 emissions in FMO Tapiola's wooden structures would be over 210 000 €. (17.8.2005 22,30 € / CO2-tone)

more info: Wooden Office Design PDF