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Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

Finland Architecture News - Jun 14, 2023 - 13:27   1985 views

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

Danish architecture firm Cobe and Finnish Lundén Architecture Company have won a competition to design a municipal building in the Finnish city of Espoo, Finland

Called Espoo House, the 24,000-square-metre hybrid municipal building, primarily made of wood, is inspired by the city's urban and natural surroundings, aiming to demonstrate Espoo’s commitment to develop innovative solutions for future environmental and social challenges. 

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

The building will serve for decision-makers, city employees and residents, as well as various residential blocks, in the Finnish city of Espoo – the second largest city in the country and part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

Cobe's design proposes a new distinctive house for the people that strengthens the future identity of Espoo.  

Described as "the new public heart of the city and a marketplace for community making," the building is developed as part of a larger masterplan for the so-called Espoon Keskus, one of five major urban centres in Espoo, creating a diverse neighbourhood with new residential buildings, commercial facilities, public transportation, and green urban spaces. 

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

By introducing an urban structure that extends from north to south, and across the train tracks, the project provides a robust foundation for unifying the strongly divided sides of the city. All in all, the project seeks to reinforce Espoo’s role in Finland and internationally as an attractive city centre for art, science and economy.

"Espoo House will be open to all and be an active interface and meeting place for the citizens and decision-makers who together contribute to the positive development of Espoon Keskus," said Eero Lundén, Founder of Lundén Architecture Company.

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

"It will be a new kind of administrative building, built to support a more open and participatory society. With an environmentally conscious construction, it provides a good foundation for a healthy urban life at the heart of Espoo," Lundén added.

"Espoo House will be constructed primarily of wood; columns and beams of mass timber, slabs of CLT and a wooden clad façade, continuing Finland’s rich tradition of building in wood," Dan Stubbergaard, Founder of Cobe, continues.

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

"While minimizing the emission of CO2 compared to traditional concrete constructions, wood will also be visible throughout the building and create a warm atmosphere and quality." 

"Unlike historical, large-scale and formal city halls, we envision a human, social and tactile house for the people, and an urban living room for community building," Stubbergaard added.

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

Landmark within the city structure

The building is comprised of one block in a patchwork of new diverse blocks with distinct identities, informed by the existing surroundings. The building's form is envisioned as a collection of rectangular volumes that differ in height in response to the site. 

Drawn with sculptural roof profiles, the building aims to become a recognizable landmark in the city, while complementing adjacent housing blocks in scale and appearance. 

"Constructed primarily of wood, the new landmark strives to serve as a model for innovative wood construction," said Cobe in its project description.

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

A house for the people

Cobe arranges a programmatic distribution with a mix of workspaces and public areas throughout the building promotes interaction, social encounters, and dialogue between city representatives and Espoo’s residents. 

Open and flexible extension of the public outdoor spaces are arranged on the ground floor.

The public spaces extend vertically within the building, from the ground to the top-most level. An atrium-like public space transforms its shape and size on each floor, providing flexible and diverse meeting places for all. 

The atrium also allows natural light to fill the central parts of the building. The top floor houses a public multi-purpose hall and winter garden, providing an ideal setting for large public events with expansive views over the city and surrounding landscapes.

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

Using wood to optimize the construction and create a future-proof layout

Set to be built with wood, with the goal of the project is to reduce the overall CO2 footprint of its construction, compared to building in concrete or steel. 

The load-bearing structure consists of mass timber with a span of 6 by 6 meters. "The dimensions are chosen to minimize the material use for the building, and to provide a generous room height," Cobe added.

"In addition to being an effective material in terms of its renewability, low carbon footprint, energy efficiency and design for disassembly, wood also provides a pleasant indoor environment and a stress-mitigating acoustic profile."

"The wooden structure also offers flexibility for different layouts on each floor, enabling easy adaptation to the building’s evolving needs over time."

The wooden post and beam structure allows for the division of spaces in various ways, and the various floor levels feature unique spatial solutions. This enables diverse work environments and extends the building’s lifecycle and usability.

Construction for Espoo House is set to begin in early 2026 and is expected to open in 2029.

Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company win competition to design wooden municipal building in Finland

Project facts

Location: Espoo, Finland
Client: The City of Espoo
Programme: Masterplan including design of hybrid municipal building, housing and commercial facilities
Size: 24,000 m2 hybrid municipal building, 26,000 m2 housing with commercial facilities, and 4,000 m2
parking
Year: First prize in competition in 2023. The Espoo House is expected to be completed in 2029
Architects: Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company

All images © Cobe and Lundén Architecture Company.

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