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Pilke House

Located within the Arctic Circle, Pilke – the name means ‘a piece of wood’ – was built to represent not only the environmental policies of State-owned forestry enterprise Metsähallitus, but also the possibilities of wood as a sustainable building material.

Pilke House is constructed almost completely from locally sourced timber, with carbon emissions just one-third of those of a steel or concrete structure of the same size.

Our client’s challenge

The idea was that the building would reflect the best of contemporary Finnish architecture and do justice to an important site for the cityscape of Rovaniemi, as well as symbolising Metsähallitus’ approach to the environment. The Pilke House also includes Pilke Science Centre, which contains exhibits on the sustainable use of northern forests.

Our approach

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in Finland carried out the structural design, creating a wooden column-beam structure stiffened by concrete stairwells and elevator shafts. 

The external spruce panels that make up Pilke’s distinctive facade are also load-bearing, but WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has managed to maintain a uniform finish that complements the exposed grain of the wood. 

Outcome

The result is an attractive new landmark, accommodating 135 of the organisation’s staff in bright, flexible spaces and providing fresh inspiration for sustainable Finnish architecture.