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Lahdelma & Mahlamäki completes Finnish Nature Centre

[FIRST LOOK + PLANS + PROJECT DATA] Finland-based Lahdelma & Mahlamäki has completed this timber-clad nature centre near to Helsinki

The building, which provides exhibition, restaurant and conference facilities, is located on the shore of Lake Pitkäjärvi next to Nuuksio National Park near to Helsinki.

Clad in native wood including spruce, the building is constructed from cross-laminated timber and uses concrete for the basement level.


The architects’ view

Rainer Mahlamäki, director of Lahdelma & Mahlamäki comments:

‘Haltia will provide exhibition, restaurant and conference services for around 200,000 visitors per year. Activities are aimed for both national and international visitors, who are interested in nature, rambling in nature, and the meaning of nature for Finland’s cultural and economic life.

‘Haltia has been designed to blend with its location. It is surrounded by the symbols of Finnish nature: granite bedrock, a lake, and dense forest.

‘Haltia’s north face is sheltered inside the rock, while the southern face opens itself towards the lake scenery. Haltia settles into the steeply sloping lot so that every floor has a direct access from outside. The lowest floor houses educational rooms, the middle floor (where the main entrance is located) houses the reception and exhibition spaces, and the top floor a restaurant facility. The multifunctional auditorium connects the two main floors - top floor and middle floor together. On the south side of the building, a lengthy terrace gives continuity to the inner spaces and at the same time shelters glass walls from direct sunshine. All other facades are covered by a closed curving wooden wall, which houses the exhibition spaces.

‘In Haltia’s design, curving free lines meet a rectangular, rational world. The arched and straight lines exhibit the various solutions of building with wood: the possibilities of joinery as well as the combination of on-site building with straight-lined prefabrication, in addition to the various traditional and modern wood processing methods’.


Project data

Location Nuuksio, Espoo, Finland
Type of project Service centre consisting of exhibition spaces, auditorium, and offices
Client Nuuksiokeskus Oy Timo Kukko
Architect Lahdelma & Mahlamäki 
Project manager Pöyry CM Oy
Landscape architect MA-arkkitehdit
Civil engineer Insinööritoimisto Tanskanen Oy 
M&E engineer Insinööritoimisto Stacon Oy
Main contractor YIT Rakennus Oy
Start on site date September 2011
Completion date May 2013
Gross internal floor area 3,534m²
Total cost €16.7 million

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