Two Winners at E2 Timber Construction Competition
The city of Kouvola in Finland awarded the first prize of “E2 Ecology + Economy” to both BIG and Arup for their concepts of multi-story timber constructions.
Kouvola struggles due to the declining traditional timber industry. The future is now seen in becoming an internationally known centre for prefabricated timber construction called “Wood-Inno”. Ignition for this new industry has been the international E2 competition to gather concepts for multi-story buildings made of wood. Until now, mostly every multi-story building in Finland is erected with concrete.
As a pilot project, the city determined an area of 15,000 m² to be developed as a new residential area – next to the river banks, including a park, surrounded by industrial estates and other residential areas. The new quarter aims to be an example for prefab timber construction that can easily be reproduced but also adjusted to local specifications in other countries of Northern and Eastern Europe.
BIG took Le Corbusier’s concept “DOM-INO” and transformed it – in combination of industrial processing and timber technology – to their concept “PUU-BO”. It allows a variety of different buildings, from office buildings to even wooden skyscrapers. It is designed to be both extremely flexible and materially efficient.
BIG’s proposal for Kouvola follows the contours of the landscape creating semi-private pockets directly connected to the park while the height of the building is manipulated to peak towards the open areas. The pockets are surrounded by lower housing creating an intimate space where all units are connected to the ground. The areas with the best views have the most floors and the most apartments while all roofs are partially accessed by the penthouse apartments and all units at ground floor have access to private gardens to both sides.
Pirmin Jung Engineers for Wood Constructions (CH)
AOA Anttinen Oiva Architects Ltd (FI)
Vahanen Engineers (FI)
Stora Enso (FI)
Arup’s concept “E²volution” also is of high flexibility and can be used for 8-story apartment block as well as for industrial buildings or flat city houses. The system allows various possibilities how to order the inner walls. The plan for Kouvola’s new residential quarter contains small apartments for singles, medium sized, and very large apartments. The carcass of one unit can be built within 48 hours. The intention of E²vlution is to be exported to all Scandinavian countries and, due to declining production costs, even to Russia.
The German team:
Arup GmbH, Berlin
HHS Planer + Architekten AG, Kassel
Finnforest Merk GmbH, Aichach
ee – Fachgebiet Entwerfen und Energieeffizientes Bauen, TU Darmstadt (Technical University of Darmstadt)