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Embracing Sustainable Architecture: Stora Enso's Landmark Wooden Headquarters

Updated: Jun 2, 2023


(c) Pasi Salminen

Introduction:

In the heart of Helsinki's Katajanokka district, a ground-breaking construction project is underway. Set to become a symbol of sustainable and climate-smart architecture, the Katajanokan Laituri project is making history with its innovative use of wood as the primary building material. Spearheaded by Stora Enso, a leading provider of renewable solutions, this state-of-the-art development is set to revolutionize urban construction while leaving a minimal carbon footprint. Let's dive deeper into this remarkable feat of engineering and its environmental implications:

(c) Pasi Salminen

A New Era of Wooden Construction:

The Katajanokan Laituri project stands as a testament to the immense potential of wood in low-carbon construction. With its distinctive wooden frame, this remarkable building showcases the versatility and eco-friendliness of timber. Stora Enso's Sylva applications play a pivotal role in bringing this vision to life. These pre-manufactured, custom-made elements, including Sylva laminated veneer lumber (LVL) columns and beams from the Varkaus mill, and Sylva cross-laminated timber (CLT) walls, floors, roofs, and stairs from the Gruvön mill in Sweden, are delivered just-in-time to the construction site. The result? A remarkable structure that exemplifies the potential of sustainable construction.

(c) Pasi Salminen

Pioneering Sustainability:

The Katajanokan Laituri project is not only a trailblazer in architectural design but also sets new standards for environmental responsibility. Designed to stand the test of time for at least a century, this wooden marvel not only stores carbon but also contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. By sequestering up to 5,865 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) throughout its lifecycle, the building offsets the average annual emissions of about 3,500 passenger cars. Such remarkable carbon neutrality is made possible by the extensive use of massive wood as the load-bearing structure.

(c) Pasi Salminen

Benefits of Wood Construction:

The decision to embrace wood as the primary building material brings a plethora of advantages. Massive wood elements, such as Sylva™ by Stora Enso boast superior load-bearing capacity while significantly reducing construction time and on-site work steps compared to traditional concrete structures. Moreover, the lightweight nature of CLT and LVL allows for a considerable reduction in deliveries, resulting in fewer emissions and a more sustainable construction process. Wood construction also enhances site safety, as precisely manufactured elements are delivered just-in-time, minimizing waste and streamlining assembly. All these features allow for a clean site with minimal impact on a surrounding, making it the perfect choice for a central urban redevelopment in such a central part of a city.

(c) Pasi Salminen

A Prominent City Landmark:

The Katajanokan Laituri project not only serves as Stora Enso's new head office but also offers additional amenities for the city's residents. A high-quality Solo Sokos Hotel Pier 4, a café, restaurant, and conference facilities will all be housed within this remarkable wooden structure. The building's architecture, centered around the use of wood, defines its identity and creates an iconic landmark in urban environments. Through projects like this, Stora Enso strengthens its position as a leading provider of renewable construction products, driving the industry towards a greener future.

(c) Pasi Salminen

Sustainability at the Core:

Minimizing the environmental impact of the building throughout its lifecycle is a core objective of the Katajanokan Laituri project. The development team aims to secure the prestigious LEED Platinum environmental certification, which takes into account a wide range of sustainability factors. By adhering to strict environmental standards, the project showcases the commitment to sustainable practices and serves as an inspiring model for future developments.

(c) Pasi Salminen

Conclusion:

The Katajanokan Laituri project represents a significant milestone in sustainable architecture. The Project teams collaborative approach to wooden construction demonstrates the immense potential of timber in reducing carbon emissions. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Stora Enso is a valuable partner in the Horizon 2020 funded EU project “Build-in-Wood”, which aims to make multi-storey wood buildings the norm in the cities of our near future.



Project Team

Partner of Stora Enso: Puurakentajat

Developer: Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company

Architect: Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy

Structural Engineer: Sweco Rakennetekniikka Oy

Main contractor: Haahtela

Pictures: (c) Pasi Salminen



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