Helsinki university’s Hyytiälä forestry field station is a retreat in the woods of Central Finland. The well-known and loved research station hosts facilities for scientific field work and events. In 2020, the university organized a competition for a new main building, which will serve as an international living lab for wooden architecture.

Project Name: Hyytiälä forestry field station
Studio Name: Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen

Scope: Wooden architecture, research station, learning environments, accommodation
Client: University of Helsinki
Year: Competition 1st prize 2020, realisation 2020-2022
Gross built area: 2000 sqm
Project location: Hyytiälä, Juupajoki, Finland
Client: University of Helsinki

Architect: Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen (Hilla Rudanko, Anssi Kankkunen, Kuisma Rasilainen, Kiira Piiroinen)
Structures: Tero Lahtela
HVAC: Panu Kotilainen

Contractor: Siklatilat Ltd., project lead Markus Jokitalo
All image credits: Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen Ltd.

Hyytiälä forestry field station By Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen - Sheet1
©Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen Ltd.

Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen won the competition in collaboration with the contractor Siklatilat. The new wooden main building bears the name “Koto” – meaning a home or shelter in Finnish.

The new main building adopts to the scale of the historical surroundings: the building is split into five small pavilions under a connecting roof. The old Hyytiälä loghouse courtyard is visible in the background, creating a dialogue between the old and new manifestations of wooden architecture.

Hyytiälä forestry field station By Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen - Sheet2
©Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen Ltd.

The new building’s architecture is simple, yet easily recognized as contemporary. The learning spaces and the restaurant open up with a large glass wall towards the entrance driveway, wishing visitors welcome and opening up the acitivities of the station to the surroundings. Large roofs shelter the pavilions’ terraces, creating an easy transition between the indoor and outdoor environments. The accommodation concept reflects the outdoor spirit of the forestry field station: All accommodation rooms are separately accessible from the terrace, creating the atmosphere of a sole outdoor cabin in the woods.

Hyytiälä forestry field station By Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen - Sheet3
©Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen Ltd.

The new building will serve as a living lab for wooden architecture during its lifespan. Ambitious, completely wooden structures store carbon dioxide, and last for a long lifespan and are easy to maintain.  Researchers will monitor the performance of the wooden structures, indoor conditions and surface materials and their effect on the well-being and learning of visitors. The lifespan of the building is set to 150 years.

Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen

Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen is a Helsinki-based architects’ office specialising in educational buildings. The company’s vision is to design buildings that are meaningful for their community. This vision is essential in educational architecture. A school building is the heart of the local community, serving a wide group of people and adapting to various needs.

The company actively participates in design competitions in Finland and abroad. Their design method is discussive and bold, and each team member holds an important role in the design process. Their first large-scale educational project Sipoonlahti campus was a competition victory from 2016, built 2017-20. Since then, Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen have grown as experts in educational design. They have designed Rajatorppa ja Hämeenkylä schools in Vantaa, Metsäkalteva school in Hyvinkää. Pakila schools and several kindergartens in Helsinki, and the main building of the Riveria Vocational College campus in Joensuu.  They also create educational concepts for schools abroad.

Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen is also involved in carefully selected residential projects. In early 2019, the wooden housing block Trekoli was completed in Pori and very well received by its community of senior residents. The company’s early career also includes small-scale housing such as the wooden Atelier Heikkilä in Korpilahti.


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