Karstula’s new log-built school, built by Honkarakenne using Finnish logs, opened its doors to growth and learning in 2021. In this project, Honkarakenne has been able to cherish its roots, because the children of Honkarakenne employees will be able to enjoy safe and healthy conditions in daycare and school.
A log-built school that fits within the landscape
Karstula’s new school is located along the main road through the village, close to the sports hall and library. The climate-friendly building was designed to meet the requirements of energy efficiency class A and is heated with district heating and solar power. Children of all ages, from daycare to the end of upper secondary, can enjoy the log-built school.
Karstula school has a capacity for 400 pupils, and it blends into the lake-rich landscape, respecting its environment and the strong local building traditions.
“Karstula is a rural town with strong roots, and features of the parish village can still be found in the centre. Our principle is that a properly functioning building must fit in with its environment in terms of its appearance and location. This way, the result will stand the test of time,” says Tuula Tuononen, an architect in Arkkitehtipalvelu, the company that designed the building.
The walls of Karstula school are made of Finnish non-settling Honka Fusion logs by Honkarakenne, delivered from the factory in the same village. The local logs create a gentle and airy atmosphere, a natural setting for a modern learning environment. “It’s great that the wooden surface is visible. The light wooden surface brings natural light to the large classrooms. In the spirit of the spatial concept, the natural materials of the log-built school create a cosy feeling and warmth,” says Arkkitehtipalvelu architect Auli Rantala.
The best school for locals
The Honkarakenne factory is situated in Karstula. So the new log-built school also is a way for Honkarakenne to cherish its community and roots. Honkarakenne is a Finnish family business and a major employer in the area. In Karstula school, local children can grow up in a natural, healthy, and safe environment.
The school must accommodate the needs of children and young people of all ages, which required special attention during the design phase.
“The idea was to design a relatively narrow building, with the different functions of the school operating in their respective wings. This solution was also made to create a calm environment in each wing,” says Tuononen.
This enables flexibility, as pupils can focus on the activities of their class when necessary, and do things together at other times.
School finished on time in seamless collaboration
Designing the school was started in 2019, with features discussed with the municipality and future users. The goal of a healthy, functional, and sustainable learning environment became reality with the opening ceremony in 2021.
The pandemic presented some obstacles, but the project was completed on schedule through good collaboration and communication. “Despite the remote connections and changes in personnel, working with the customer and our partners went very well, and decisions were made quickly. Our team’s extensive experience in designing schools and their skill also helped a lot. This can be seen clearly in the result,” says Tuononen.
A log-built school is always more than just a building – it’s a place for learning together and growing up. It is important that the village school can offer the children a healthy, pleasant place to study.
- Building type: Karstula school (preschool, elementary and middle school, high school)
- Client: The municipality of Karstula
- Architectural design and interior design: Arkkitehtipalvelu Oy
- Location: Karstula
- Year of construction: 2021
- Floor area: 4416 square meters (gross area 4192 square meters)
- Heating: District heating and solar power
- Energy class: A
- Log type: non-settling Honka Fusion log wall, FXL 270N
- Customer places: 400 student places
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