The wooden building project for the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station is progressing

The University of Helsinki announced the winner of the design and build competition for the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry’s Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station in an event held on 31 August. The winner was a team with the pseudonym Koto, composed of Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen, the designer, and Siklatilat, the builder.

A new building is being planned for the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, located in Juupajoki, to be constructed from wood. The design phase is to begin in 2020, while the construction phase can begin after an investment decision has been made, estimated to be in 2021.

“The goal is to build a high-quality wooden building with a long life cycle. The new building will house multipurpose teaching and accommodation facilities. According to need, the latter can serve as offices,” says Mika Huhtala, the architect responsible for the University’s Viikki Campus. 

The primary users of the new building are researchers and students of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Science, as well as visitors and partners from Finland and abroad. 

“Hyytiälä’s new building is envisioned as a uniquely innovative platform, which would serve as a ‘living lab’. If successful, it will enable multidisciplinary research and teaching focused on the effects of the built environment on sustainability, the climate and wellbeing, as well as the testing of solutions and the conduct of long-term research relevant to studying the effects,” says Dean Ritva Toivonen of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Among other things, this entails the sustainability and longevity of the building and its materials, not forgetting human health and wellbeing, factors which buildings and the environment have an effect on and which are enormously important to society.

“The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry wishes to be actively involved in research and teaching that promote the identification of innovative and sustainable solutions which mitigate climate change, both on the domestic and international stages, enabling related diverse research activities.” 

Aerosol measurements inside the wooden building

Hyytiälä is home to SMEAR II, a globally leading measuring station, which measures, as part of the operations of the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), more than a thousand factors in the atmosphere and ecosystem. The station measures the concentration of gases and fine particles, or aerosols, in the air, as well as their formation and routes from the soil, lake, peatland and trees. In the future, the life of aerosols will also be measured in the new wooden building in Hyytiälä and its various rooms. After all, people spend most of their lives indoors, which makes indoor air quality a significant factor in terms of health.

“We will be able to apply an increasingly scientific approach to the argument according to which the indoor air of wooden buildings is of high quality,” Professor and Academician Markku Kulmala points out. 

Wooden buildings are known to breathe, but there is currently very little research on their functioning as a whole. By utilising a mass spectrometer and aerosol gauges, the indoor air of Hyytiälä’s wooden building can be investigated in a diverse and precise manner. For example, certain mould damage has so far been almost impossible to detect except by the canine sense of smell. Now, even such minuscule chemical concentrations can be detected by employing measuring devices used by aerosol physicists.

“All in all, the new building will also further integrate the research carried out in Hyytiälä. The goal is to make the station increasingly attractive to Finnish and international research and education,” sums up Laura Alakukku, vice-dean in charge of infrastructures at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

The developer of the new building is Helsinki University Properties Ltd. The estimated time of completion is summer 2022.

The Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station in Juupajoki, Central Finland, has evolved into an international centre of multidisciplinary research, with research areas ranging from the depths of the soil to atmospheric processes.

Further information:
Dean Ritva Toivonen, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
Architect Mika Huhtala, Properties and Facilities

The video from the publication event can be seen via Unitube.