The Finnish Nature Centre

The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia – door to the nature of Finland

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. 

Environmental friendly solutions have been taken into consideration already during the design phase. Facilities are versatile, flexible and adaptable. The building is technically advanced and utilizes geothermal and solar energy. The roof of the building where solar collectors and panels are located is decked with grass. Haltia is launching a new era of building in the country. Only the lowest floor which is mainly underground is made of concrete. In all floors above, wood has been used in every aspect of construction from supporting structures to cladding surfaces. The frame of the building – walls, roof and floors – have been built from prefabricated solid-wood panels known as cross-laminated timber. External cladding is made of sawn surface spruce planks, eaves are clad with copper. Internal cladding is made of spruce with fine-sawn waxed surface, and floors are varnished ash.

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. 

Rainer Mahlamäki, Professor

Project Name T he Finish Nature Centre Haltia
Address N uuksiontie 84, 02820 Espoo, Finland
Year of completion 2013
Total floor area 3 534 m2
Client / Manager N uuksiokeskus Oy
Timo Kukko, Manager
Project manager Pöyry CM Oy,
Juha Välikangas, Project director
Tenant / Director N uuksiokeskus Oy Timo Kukko Director
Function of building S ervice centre consisting of exhibition spaces, auditorium, and offices
Architectural design A rchitects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Ltd.
Author Professor Rainer Mahlamäki, M.Sc Architect
Principal in charge T arja Suvisto, B.Sc Architect [from summer 2010]
Marko Santala, M.Sc Architect [until summer 2010]
Collaborators Jukka Savolainen M.Sc Architect; Miguel Freitas Silva, M.Sc Architect; S ampsa Palva, M.Sc Architect; A kseli Leinonen, M.Sc Architect; Katri Rönkä, M.Sc Architect; Maritta Kukkonen, M.Sc Architect Maria Jokela, M.Sc Architect
Exhibition design A rchitects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Ltd. S ampsa Palva, M.Sc Architect; Petri Saarelainen, M.Sc Architect;
Interior design A rchitects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Ltd. architecture Mirja Sillanpää, I nterior Design Architect
Landscape architecture MA-arkkitehdit, Marja Mikkola, Landscape Architect
Civil engineering I nsinööritoimisto Tanskanen Oy, Jouko Tanskanen, Jarkko Kautonen
Electrical engineering I nsinööritoimisto Stacon Oy, Kalevi Hämäläinen
HVAC engineering Projectus Team Oy, Juha Åberg
Geotechnical Geotek Oy, engineering R isto Riisiö, Matti Huokuna and soil Investigations
Main contractors YIT Rakennus Oy
Building Services YIT Kiinteistötekniikka Oy
Wood structures E ridomic Oy contractor
Principal Materials Wood, copper, concrete
Principal Structure Concrete, wood
Construction S eptember 2011- March 2013
Opening to the public 31st May 2013
Cost 16,7 Million €