Pudasjärvi Log Campus

The town of Pudasjärvi in Northern Finland is characterized by flat landscapes, wilderness and string fens. Several old school buildings in bad shape and scattered around the sparsely populated terrains were decided to be replaced with a comprehensive school campus in 2012.

Log structure was selected to prevent the old buildings’ problems and to guarantee the indoor air quality. It also gave the wood building industry a change to show its know-how in large scale building. Pudasjärvi Log Campus opened in August 2016 and it won the Finnish Wood Architecture Award 2016.

Village of log cottage classrooms
The large dimensions of the campus are rendered human-scale by dividing it into four building volumes. The shared functions – sports hall, specialized arts, crafts and science classrooms, kitchen, administration, welfare facilities – are located in the two two-storey volumes. They are bridged together by a glass walled multi-functional central hall that serves also as the canteen.

The regular “log cottage” classrooms are in the two single-storey sections on the southern side as the primary and the secondary school. Their atriums, also used for learning, receive natural light through large roof lanterns. The spaces along the exterior walls are well-lighted through full-height windows.

The two-storey sections block the northern winds from entering the schoolyard, which opens towards south and the beautiful river. The yard is designed to attract the pupils outdoors.

Log walls and glued laminated pillars
Wooden structures and components are used comprehensively. The structural walls are made of laminated log, with the exception of the north-western section, where reinforced concrete is used for the civil defense shelter due to regulations.

The exterior log walls of 275mm provide the insulation against varying temperatures. The roofs of the main hall and lanterns are supported by glulam pillars and beams with various shapes. Cross-laminated timber elements are used in the intermediate floors and the banisters of the main hall stairways.

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The color palette is a dialogue between tranquil natural wood shades and vivid details. The indoor log surfaces are protected by a transparent wax coating that maintains the natural character of wood, and joyful colors in the boards of the fixtures and panels covering the settling gaps (structural detail distinctive for log structures) invigorate the space. Similarly, in the outside facades the color palette of the log surfaces is down-to-earth compared to the bright board cladding.

An extraordinary feature of the campus is the pleasant interior acoustics created by log walls. Together with the harmonious appearance and pleasant scent of wood, this functional building provides an excellent learning environment.

Experienced designers
The campus was implemented as a life-cycle project in which the main contractor was Lemminkäinen Talo Oy and the supplier of the log frame Kontiotuote Oy. The campus’ architecture and interior is designed by Lukkaroinen Architects Ltd which operates nationwide with a wide range of architecture and town planning projects. In recent years the practice has specialized in large-scale school and hospital projects.

Kontio Log is the key component of the Pudasjärvi Log Campus structurally, functionally, aesthetically, acoustically and ecologically.

The structural walls of the buildings are made of laminated logs. The log walls of 275mm thickness provide by themselves sufficient insulation in the Northern climate. The roofs of the main hall and lanterns are supported by glulam pillars and beams of various shapes.

The color palette is tied to natural wood. The subtler log shades both indoors and outdoors are enhanced by colorful details, indoors including the panels and boards covering the settling gaps (a structural detail distinctive for log structures), outdoors the occasional cladding is bright.

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The log walls create an extraordinarily pleasant interior acoustics, evident for all ears.

The log makes the building a vast carbon sink for decades to come, and the physical features of solid wood give the structure durability, thus making it even more ecological.

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