Non-settling log inspires builders of daycare centres, schools, and elderly care facilities
24.5.2018 BY ANNE MÄKINEN
Genuine massive wood attracts increasingly more interest as the material of choice in many public construction projects.
Its many excellent features are highlighted in buildings intended for groups of people requiring special care and attention, such as children and the elderly. For the constructor, a modern log building is both a competitive and a flexible choice.
Children, the Elderly, and Patients Only Deserve the Best
We want our children to spend their time in safe and healthy environments. We also wish that our ageing parents could, if needed, live and be cared for in a service facility that supports their well-being. There is always a demand for high-quality school and nursing home buildings in the public and private sector alike. The constructor of these buildings gains a competitive edge with a modern, healthy log building.
We can’t take for granted our schools and daycare centres having good indoor air quality, even if the building was recently finished. The same problem exists in many facilities designed for the elderly.
The frame structure built with massive wood consists of a single, natural material – pine – which already prevents moisture problems. In addition, wood breathes naturally, which means that it evens out any fluctuations in humidity. The indoor humidity in a log house remains at a good level, and no harmful substances are carried in the indoor air, because they are not used in the building’s structures.
Studies have shown that wood as a material has a soothing effect, which is important for both children and the elderly. Pine does not cause allergies, and as a naturally antibacterial substance, it prevents the spread of harmful microbes. A log house is also a comfortable environment because it has pleasant acoustics.
Stylish, Functional, and Ecological Log Buildings
Log is typically used for daycare centres of about 400–600 m2 (4,300–6,500 ft2). Schools and care facilities are often larger, with floor areas of about 800 m2 (8,600 ft2). Today, log can be used for even larger, modern and transformable buildings: the non-settling Honka FusionTM log technology enables features such as large windows and the creative combination of different building materials.
The use of large sliding doors would not have been possible using a traditional log structure. Honka resolved the issue with its non-settling structure.
Architect Alexis du Rivau, designer of Babilou day care center
Using ecological building materials is increasingly important for both care service providers and the end users. In daycare centres, using wood structures teaches children early on to respect natural materials and to use them sustainably.
Wood harvested from PEFC-certified forests can last up to hundreds of years of wear. During that time, it functions as a carbon sink: one cubic metre of wood stores about one ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In addition, the manufacture of a log frame consumes considerably less energy than that of other building materials. A log frame can also be recycled if needed: the frame can be disassembled and reassembled in a new location, even a hundred years later. If wood fibre is used for the insulation, it can also be recycled.
The Building Material of the Future Is an Old Acquaintance
People have had appreciation for log buildings throughout the centuries. The industrial manufacture of log houses began 60 years ago when Honkarakenne set up the world’s first log house factory in 1958.
So, we already know a lot about wood and how to build with it, but we can also say that log is the building material of the future. In industrial manufacture, the good qualities of log houses are available for a wide range of different user groups.
For the constructor, it’s important that the building and maintenance costs of the house remain competitive. Log is only slightly more expensive than the large panel system and in the same price range as stone. Large panel construction is faster than log construction, whereas stone buildings are considerably slower to construct than log houses.
Even a large log building is easy to protect from the elements during the construction. However, if the wood does get a bit wet, it doesn’t matter because the wood adjusts its moisture levels even during the construction. That is why it is safe to build a log house at any time of year.
Log Used in Daycare Centres, Schools, and Care Facilities All Over the World
In Finland, Honkarakenne has made an agreement with Pilke Daycare Centres, a private early childhood education company, on the construction of as many as 34 log daycare centres by the end of 2020. The first four of these buildings are already in use in 2018.
During the past ten years, daycare centres and schools built with log have been delivered for other customers in Finland as well as internationally, to countries such as France, the UK, and Kenya.