In August 2021, the teachers and students of Oulu Christian School started the new school year in their newly built log school. Honkarakenne provided the logs for the school, which was built in collaboration with Hoivarakentajat Plc. in accordance with the user-oriented Oppikylä (learning village) concept. Principal Mikko Saukkonen and Assistant Principal Petri Ojala say teachers and families in the area have been very interested in the new pedagogically designed log school.
Oulu Christian School, designed and built by Honka
Hear what Oulu Christian School principal Mikko Saukkonen, former principal Petri Ojala and students at the primary and lower secondary school have to say about the new building.
Indoor air problems now a thing of the past
The new, highly functional log school facilities are like a dream come true, Oulu Christian School principal Mikko Saukkonen says. “This building has a safe, dependable feel about it. We can work and study in the best location in the entire city in excellent, modern facilities that are also healthy, which is the most important thing of all.” The new log-built school has been very well received by students and parents alike, Saukkonen says. “The new school means a great deal to local families. They can rest assured that their children will be safe while receiving an excellent education here.”
This secure feeling is due to the fact that the families and school staff can trust that the log facilities are good for their health. “Concerns about air quality in public buildings in Finland, and especially in schools have increased in recent years. Log was our preferred material, as indoor air quality is hugely important,” says the school’s former principal, Petri Ojala. “In Finland, there are so many schools where the indoor air quality can’t be trusted. We can say with complete certainty that the air here is healthy,” Ojala says.
In this school in Oulu, the log walls naturally balance out the air humidity. “Aside from indoor air quality, the most significant change has been aesthetic. These beautiful wooden surfaces make the building feel very cosy,” says Ojala.
A new favourite place
In accordance with the Learning Village concept, the school facilities were designed to be as user-oriented as possible. Students – the most important users of the new school – are full of praise for the new facilities. According to one pair of seventh-grade students, the home economics kitchen are their favourite place in the new school, and they’re also thrilled with the new yard. “There are a lot of cool spots here,” the two friends say. And according to some of the second-grade pupils, the best place in the new building is their own classroom. “We really like our own classroom, it feels cosy.”
Log is an ideal material for walls, as its good acoustic properties make sounds softer. This feature is especially important in a place such as a school, where large numbers of people brought closely together can create quite a lot of noise. Saukkonen says the acoustics make the school buildings very pleasant. “The log walls dampen the sounds in the classroom, but also create warmth and add beauty.” The kids are also happy. “It sounds nice in here,” one seventh-grader says.
Bringing the calm of the forest to the school
In addition to indoor air quality and gentle acoustics, the pupils and staff like the cosy aesthetics of the log building. Saukkonen sums it up: “The log walls really do create pleasant and calm surroundings for everyone. For us adults, of course, wood immediately brings nature to mind – this is Finnish construction at its finest.” Ojala agrees. “For us, wood is all about warmth and beautiful, vibrant surfaces,” he says.
Saukkonen says visitors to the school have also been taken with the log walls and the distinctive atmosphere of the school. “A colleague working for the City of Oulu visited recently, and was impressed with the calming feel of the place.” The natural log is also a big hit with the younger generation, Saukkonen adds. “Many of the children have remarked on how beautiful the walls are, and they see that the knots are a natural part of the material – they weren’t put there by the architect.”
- Building type: Oulu Christian Log School and Log Kindergarten Verso
- Customer: Oulu Christian School
- Location: Toppilansaari, Oulu
- Constructed in: 2020
- Floor area: 2,583 m2
- Wall construction: Honkarakenne non-settling logs FXL 204N
- Energy efficiency class: A
- Heating type: District heating from a 5 kW solar power plant
- Capacity: 200 (school facilities), 63 (daycare facilities)
- Read more at www.oukris.fi
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