Innovative wooden structures in Metsä Group's Metsätapiola office building demonstrate 'power of wood at its strongest' says architect; category winner in German Design Council competition features Kerto beams, plywood and Kerto casing elements

ESPOO, Finland , October 8, 2013 (press release) – Metsätapiola, Metsä Group's office won its category in the Iconic Awards competition organised by the German Design Council. Helin & Co Architects, who designed Metsätapiola, won the award in the office building architecture category. According to the jury the special features of the building include innovative wooden structures in the personnel restaurant and the extraordinary workspace solutions, designed to accommodate the move to working in open plan offices. This is also reflected in the façade of the building. Metsätapiola is a property company jointly owned by the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution Mela and Metsä Group located in Tapiola, Espoo in Finland.

“Iconic Awards is a comprehensive design award event, which emphasises aesthetics, structures and expediency. All these are evident in the Metsätapiola office building in an exemplary manner. The building also demonstrates the developer's wish to make an impressive and appropriate head office for a company functioning within the forest industry; a prime exampleis the wooden personnel restaurant, where one feels the power of wood at its strongest. In my opinion, the innovative structure of the restaurant has wider significance, since a similar space can be adapted to different situations and uses,” says Pekka Helin from Helin & Co Architects.

One of the principles followed when building Metsätapiola was to take advantage of the developer's extensive expertise in the use of wood in both structures and cladding. One example is the main entrance–restaurant made completely of wood utilising Kerto beams, plywood and Kerto casing elements and narrow wood battens on the ceiling. The light from the skylights located between the beams increases the sculpture-like quality of the wooden structures. When it came to the choice of other materials, it was decided that these also should be genuine and strong natural materials: brick and natural stone.

“Metsätapiola's award winning wooden architecture is an excellent example of how wooden products can be used for top quality design as well as for their ease of adaptability in demanding projects. Our wood products can be used for impressive structures which are simultaneously load bearing,” says Ari Tiukkanen, Senior Vice President, Building and Industry at Metsä Wood.

The building has been awarded a LEED Gold certificate, which is rare among Finnish office buildings. LEED certification aims to reduce environmental effects of construction and building use and to develop healthier work environments.

Metsä Wood products were also used in another winning entry to the Iconic Awards: The headquarters of Damiani-Holz & KO AG located in Italy uses a great deal of wood and Metsä Wood's Kerto elements play a significant role in the building.

Iconic Awards competition organised for the first time awarded prizes in several categories: architecture, interior design, product development, communications and branding as well as concepts in both consumer and corporate categories. The prize ceremony was held in Munich, Germany on 7 October 2013.

Building developer:
Koy Metsätapiola property company

Pekka Helin, Mariitta Helineva ja Antti Laiho
Helin & Co Architects

Construction consultant:
Haahtela Group


Metsä Wood offers competitive and eco-efficient wood-based solutions for industrial construction customers, other industrial customers and the home and lifestyle sectors. We manufacture products from Nordic wood, a sustainable raw material of premium quality. Our sales were EUR 904 million in 2012, and we employ about 2,700 people. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group.

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