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The restoration of the wood-clad exterior of the Olympic Stadium calls for accurate dimensioning and craftsmanship

The cladding of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium will be rebuild by Siparila, a company renown for its woodworking skills. This national monument of historic value will be restored to its original splendour as closely as possible. The cladding will be finished by the end of next year.

In the course of the restoration, the wood cladding will be modelled on the original design except that it will be extended two meters upwards to conceal the new stadium canopies.

Challenges posed by the curved inclined exterior

Structurally, the higher-than-before wooden exterior will be implemented using a separate supportive lattice to which the frame and wood cladding will be fixed. The biggest challenge in the project is the complex form of the exterior in which the walls tilt outward especially at the ends.

“No doubt this is the toughest project we’ve ever tackled. Special attention needs to be paid to dimensions and framework details. Even a minor deviation at a single point is multiplied as you proceed outward,” says Chief Sales Officer Olli Prättälä of Siparila explaining the challenges they are facing.

On-site safety is another challenge because the installations are carried out at elevated levels. Since it is not possible to construct scaffolding, the installers carry out their work using boom lifts and aerial work platforms. Because of safety considerations, the area underneath the platforms is off limits for other on-site workers.

exterior siding in Olympic stadium

Smartly new – with due respect for the old

The wood cladding of the Olympic Stadium will be re-created following the original design as closely as possible. At the tendering stage, Siparila supplied a total of nine test walls of different shades and finishes which were then installed on the south end of the Olympic Stadium exposed to the action of weather for two months. The tests showed that the finish satisfied stringent quality requirements. The width of the panels supplied by Siparila was slightly adjusted to match the original.

 “It’s fair to say that this was no run-of-the-mill job, it was like walking on eggshells. The project called for true craftsmanship and forward thinking – you need to keep the subsequent work operations in mind all the time because any errors are multiplied in the course of the work,” Prättälä says.

Finnish wood

The external cladding of the Olympic Stadium will consist of Finnish PEFC-certified fine-sawn spruce. The finely textured surface provides better adhesion for paint than an unfinished coarse surface, which gives it enhanced weather resistance in harsh conditions. All in all, the external cladding covers an area of 9,000 m2 with the total quantity of spruce reaching 500 m3. Theoretically, the wood cladding of the Olympic Stadium will trap up to 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide over its service life. The cladding panels are finished in an industrial process under controlled conditions. The final coat of paint will be brush-applied to the installed cladding next summer as required by the painting certificate.

Currently, a total of seven professionals are working on the external cladding. To date, framework construction and external cladding have proceeded up to the first corner. When the Helsinki Olympic Stadium is re-opened at the end of 2019, it will look practically the same as at the end of the 1952 Olympic Games.

Wooden Artwork in Pro Nemus

Modern wood architecture in Metsä Group’s Pro Nemus Visitor Center

Metsä Group’s Pro Nemus Visitor Center was opened in the beginning of June around the Äänekoski’s factory. In this completely wood constructed building, designers and industrialists sought solutions that were suitable for industrial construction but did not impede the architect’s hands.

UKI Architects Ltd. designed the Visitor Center as a continuation of the earlier designed  biotech plant.

Siparila siding installation is fast and easy

We wanted to make Pro Nemus a showroom for the Finnish forest, where the tree is visible and felt in  all the details of the building. The centrepiece of the Visitor Center is made of Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL while the outside is clad in Siparila’s Topcoat siding. Together these products, whose strong features allow longevity of the construction and the creation of  spacious and spectacular spaces, says architect Ulla Passoja of UKI Architects.

The wider use of wood architecture requires new solutions

For a young generation of architects, building with wood is a matter of heart. We want to design architecture that incorporates the forest in a sustainable way and find new solutions made possible by innovative wooden construction products. However, maintaining a connection with tradition and local influence is important in preserving the originality, says Passoja.

Siparila topcoat wood siding has secret nailing profiles

According to Passoja, wood-based architecture needs to expanded to include high-quality wood-based products and a wide range of different surface finishing options. It is also important to preserve the authenticity of wood, as many architects want to use untreated wood to express a rugged and natural look in the buildings they plan. The Pro Nemus Visitor Center is an encouraging example of the beautiful possibilities in modern wooden architecture.

Siparila prefinished wood siding

The use of  wood in architecture encourages increased knowledge of sustainable wood-based solutions and highly prefinished wood siding with high-quality surface treatment, fire safety, and moisture resistance, says Passoja.

Siding is an important part of the visitor center’s appearance

Pro Nemus represents the tip of modern wood construction in Finland. Modernity will be highlighted in the sculpted form of the building through basis of design and innovative material selections. The design endeavors to incorporate the wood in  all the design’s surfaces. The 42 mm thick and nearly 300 mm wide, exquisite Siparila Topcoat exterior siding is a significant element of the building’s appearance, says  Passoja.

Siparila Topcoat is a prefinished wood siding

Pro Nemus is completely matte and distinct from other factory buildings. This unique surface treatment was achieved with a new, permanent paint treatment developed by Siparila; unlike conventional overlay painting this new system  maintains the wood’s surface grain. This paint treatment also extends the maintenance intervals required of the wood compared to other exterior wood products. The prefinished wood siding made of glued wood has the advantage of hidden clamping, which improves the weather resistance of the façade as the piling rods that could collect water are hidden.

The most important criteria for choosing an exterior finishing solution, especially for a visitor center, are durability and aesthetics. We cut the size, profile and surface treatment of the outer sheath panel in close cooperation with Siparila. It was especially important for us to keep the feel of a genuine wood in the exterior. The outer coat should look and feel from the wood both from afar and up close, emphasizes the Passoja.

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