The Finnish government wants to advance wood construction, and Rovaniemi has a leading role in Lapland.
Rovaniemi intends to increase the number of wooden buildings and is trying to find areas where wooden buildings dominate, says city’s architect Tarja Outila.
This is because the government wants to to advance wood construction in Finland, and in Lapland Rovaniemi has to take a leading role, Outila says.
In Lapland most of the family houses are made of wood but log houses and cross-laminated timber (CLT) houses are rare. “We do not have wooden apartment buildings at all. Pilke Science Centre is the only public building which is made of wood.”
According to experts a wooden building costs 5–10 percent more than a concrete one. This is because there are few CLT factories in Finland. Transportation drives up the cost further. The final price is also affected by the government support.
“Due to the higher cost of wood compared to concrete and other housing materials, wood construction is not popular among the open-market operators”, said Kirsti Saviaro, executive director of Domus Arctica Foundation (DAS).
DAS, however, is planning to build the first wooden apartment building for students in Rovaniemi in 2018. The building will be constructed in Riihipellonpuisto between the campuses of the University of Lapland and the Lapland University of Applied Sciences.
According to Saviaro, DAS’s wooden building plan is a project larger than construction of just a wooden apartment building for students: “We are examining the possibilities of wooden apartment building in the Arctic area.”
The immediate project of DAS consists of one building with a maximum of eight floors and 106 studios for students. “We are applying for the building permit so that it would take effect in March 2018. The estimated construction time of the building depends on which alternative is chosen, but the building would be finished in August 2018 the earliest,” Saviaro says.
The Pilke Science Centre, one of the biggest wooden building in Finland, is the sole major wooden building in Rovaniemi. However, the wooden apartment building at Riihipellonpuisto will be the first one designed in Rovaniemi.
“For the time being, we are just making calculations for different alternatives, but if the wooden building fits in the framework of the estimated costs, we will turn it into an Arctic landmark in Rovaniemi and in the campus area. It will be an attraction for national and foreign students as well as tourists”, said Saviaro.
There would be solar panels on the roof. Circulation, sharing economies, air quality, temperature, and health issues will all be taken into consideration. The park will also have an area for a new science, art, and business zone.
“By building a house with wood, the carbon footprint will be 20 percent lower during the construction phase and two per cent lower during the time the building is used, compared to a building made of concrete elements and such. Apartments are cosy and increase the living comfort due to the wooden surfaces,” Saviaro said.
Apart from that, the new student house will also have club rooms, “laundry room cafés”, shared bikes for tenants to borrow, etc to improve the living conditions.
City of Rovaniemi-Daily Finland Report