The Helsinki based SARC Architects designed the new building for The Finnish Forest Research Institutes (METLA) in Joensuu in the east if Finland. The building is situated at the Joensuu University campus-area, in the close vicinity of the city centre.
“The staff of Joensuu Forest Research Institute was growing until the end of 2005 up to 150-170 employees, of which 100 were permanent staff members, from 110 employees, including 60 researches, working at the Research Institute. This growth necessitated the building of new workspaces, because of the insufficiency of the existing facilities.
The Research Institute’s task is to undertake applied forestry research which supports the regional enterprise activities and forest related regional economic, social and ecological development. One of the Research Institutes seven focus areas is the research of wooden materials.”
“The primary goal of the construction project was to use Finnish wood in innovative ways. Hence, wood is the main material used throughout the building, from the post-beam-slab -system in the structural frame to the exterior cladding. The building fits in the cityscape in respect to its size, which is closely related to the adjoining buildings. However, the clear form and the uniform materiality achieved through the extensive use of wood make it a distinct entity.
The workspaces in the building surround a central courtyard and lobby. The entrance to the courtyard is flanked by walls made of 100-year old timber. The courtyard itself is lifted above the buildings immediate surroundings, and with the lobby and its restaurant form a meeting point for the staff of the Forest Research Institute.
The courtyard is dominated by tall pine trees growing through the terrace, a conference space that resembles an overturned boat and fish-chest inspired tilted wooden columns.”