Modern log houses welcomed in the capital of Finland:
Award for the massive wood urban terraced house block in Helsinki Myllypuro
PRESS RELEASE 9.11.2012
Myllypuron Tara, the massive-wood house block manufactured by Honka, was highly commended in the 2012 Log House of the Year competition. Representing a new type of timber construction in Finland, this modern massive-wood urban terraced house block was completed in August 2012 in Helsinki’s Myllypuro wooden house district, home to some 2,000 residents. The block was a project by a developer group formed by shareholders in the Tara housing company.
The panel of judges on their decision:
“The Myllypuron Tara buildings are a new creative example of how logs can be utilised in a modern and compact urban environment. Representing a new type of townhouse construction in Finland, the buildings also cherish Finnish wood construction traditions in an enchanting way. The setting of the buildings in sloping terrain, their rhythm, proportions and openings have been competently carried out.”
The Log House of the Year competition is organised by Hirsitaloteollisuus HTT ry (the Finnish Log House Association). The panel members were Professor of Architecture at the University of Oulu Jouni Koiso-Kanttila, and Markku Karjalainen, Development Manager of the National Wood Construction Programme at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
“A modern massive wood house is well suited to cities and small plots. In Europe and elsewhere in the world, Honka is best known for its uniquely designed residential houses, which make up a significant part of our exports,” says President and CEO of Honkarakenne Mikko Kilpeläinen.
In 2011, Honka also won the Log House of the Year competition, with its Villa Lokki building.
High-standard wood construction
Myllypuron Tara is Honka’s first entry into Helsinki’s urban wooden house market, where efforts are now being made to build detached and terraced houses more compactly and eco-efficiently on small plots. Built on both two and three levels, the sizes of Honka homes vary between 50 and 150 sqm. There are 13 dwellings in terraced and connected separate houses, with six different floor plans. Hannu Lehto from Liark Oy was in charge of the architectural design of Honka homes with their simple facades, suitable for a compact urban environment. Tara’s massive-wood urban homes have been built using Honka’s energy-efficient Honka LowE™ wall structure.
“Building the houses on small sloping plots set a challenge for design, which had to accommodate car parking spaces between the buildings and set the plot boundaries in accordance with the planning regulations. The positioning of windows facing the street gave the site its own special characteristics. The way openings were positioned in the facades also made the street view more interesting. The corners of the log houses endowed the gables with a distinctive motif. Light shades were selected, creating a contrast with the dark colours surroundings the houses. As a designer, I value log as a building material, and its eco-friendliness also attracted the residents selected for the building group,” says Lehto, who was in charge of the architectural design of Myllypuron Tara.
Residents satisfied with the good internal air of their quiet log homes
After a few months of living in Myllypuron Tara, the residents are satisfied. Not even the noise from the ongoing construction work in the new residential area has disturbed the Tara residents’ sleep. “Some of the residents said that they do not hear the noise of the machinery when inside their homes, as the thick log wall structure is such an effective sound insulator,” says Honka Sales Director Markku Koivuniemi. In a compact urban area, sound insulation is an important living comfort factor.
Massive-wood log structures guarantee good indoor air quality. Massive wood walls breathe naturally, letting water vapour move freely from the air to the wall structure and back. The Honka Smart Ventilation System, a wall solution studied by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is moisture-proof and natural, and does not use a plastic damp-proof membrane. The humidity of indoor air remains constant, hence it is easy to breathe in buildings made of massive wood. A relative humidity of 30−55% minimises the harmful aspects of indoor air, such as growth of mould spores and bacteria. The more massive wood a building contains, the better it retains humidity at optimal levels. Log is also a sustainable and energy-efficient building material.
Modern massive wood houses are well suited to cities and small plots, as they blend into the townscape without any of the features of a traditional log house. Using natural materials created a human and warm wooden village within the city.