Centrally located in Tokyo’s Roppongi district on the site of the Finnish Embassy, the Metsä Pavilion showcases the opportunities of wooden element construction on challenging urban sites and demonstrates the innovative and ecological ways in which wood is used in Finnish construction. Originally designed as event space for the 2020 Olympics that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pavilion provided spaces for various business and cultural events in 2020 and 2021. Currently, the pavilion is serving the Finnish embassy in Tokyo. The re-usable pavilion is made entirely from Metsä Wood’s Kerto® Laminated Veneer Lumber elements, manufactured from a renewable raw material grown in sustainably managed Northern forests. Thanks to prefabrication and the materials chosen, the building is fast and easy to move and reuse. Moreover, the structure of the building is lightweight and dimensionally stable. The production process of the materials and elements, as well as the efficient on-site assembly, generate very little waste. The prefabricated wooden elements are made-to-measure and the pieces fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The pavilion was built in Finland and assembled in less than two weeks in Japan. The project’s main goal was to create a simple, yet elegant industrial product. A re-usable building to showcase the advantages of prefabricated wooden elements in construction as well as to promote the use of this technology also in larger buildings. When designing the Metsä pavilion, the fact that Tokyo has high wind loads and the potential to earthquakes needed to be taken into consideration. Likewise, the small plot provided certain restrictions to the design solutions. The long traditions of wood architecture in both Japan and Finland inspired the design. As a result, the pavilion is approachable and authentic while being stylish and of high quality at the same time. Sustainability being one of the key elements, the building showcases the importance of forest in Finnish culture and the Finnish know-how of harnessing the advantages of wood in construction. In Metsä Pavilion, wood has been used efficiently, utilizing as much of the material as possible to optimize the material waste. Moreover, the wooden pavilion is in accordance with the goal of the Finnish ministry of the Environment that in a few years, one in two public buildings in Finland will be made of wood. The surface of the wood will preserve its beautiful light colour thanks to the white waxed finish. Inside, the theme of sustainability continues in the choice of materials and products with emphasis on wood and closeness to nature. Another asset of the pavilion is its re-usability. In the future, when the pavilion is no longer needed in its current location, it can be dismantled, sent to another destination and rebuilt there. The elements fit into 17 sea containers. Metsä Pavilion is a fine example of an elegant and sustainable building created from prefabricated wooden elements. It is a straightforward industrial product that can be transformed into different constructions for many diverse purposes.
Helin & Co Architects is one of the leading architectural offices in Northern Europe, recognised for its sustainable and inspiring architecture, thoughtful design solutions and harmonious integration of buildings into the existing surroundings. We have received 70 awards and have won 40 national and international competitions. Many of our designs are people’s everyday environments: working spaces and housing. But our range of work is wide, covering urban master plans and redevelopment projects, retail and multifunctional complexes, transport buildings, civic and cultural buildings as well as private houses, villas and furniture designs. We have also designed the renovations of several important buildings and historical monuments.