The load-bearing wooden structures for Metsä Pavilion were assembled in only 11 days. The Pavilion, built on the grounds of the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo, is Business Finland’s project and Metsä Group is the main partner. The Pavilion will be used as a venue for different Embassy meetings and Business Finland events. It will also host the Finnish national team during the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Prefabricated wood elements manufactured from Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) enable fast, light and green construction. The Kerto LVL elements for the Metsä Pavilion were manufactured at Timberpoint’s factory in Finland.
The packaging of the elements was optimized for the minimum possible number of containers, 16 altogether. The elements were packaged carefully keeping in mind the logistics in Japan: the elements were placed in the containers in the order of assembly. The containers were sent from Finland to Japan in February and arrived at Yokohama harbour after 45 days.
Wood elements are easy to handle in busy urban areas
Japanese legislation prohibits large transport vehicles in the city area. Therefore, thorough logistics planning was required when designing the elements for Metsä Pavilion. The elements were a maximum of nine metres long so they could easily be transported on the narrow, busy streets. A ten-tonne truck brought the Kerto LVL elements to the site in 20 batches, with four to five batches per day.
The low weight of Kerto LVL elements was an advantage in the transport, and the lightness also made onsite handling easy.
“The elements could be quickly put together on site. The lighter the elements are, the easier they are to assemble, too,” says Jyrki Huttunen, CEO of Puurakentajat Oy, the company responsible for the erection of the Pavilion in Tokyo.
“This helped the assembly on the small embassy site. And of course, we do have extensive experience of building in Finnish city sites.”
Huttunen was in charge of assembling Metsä Pavilion in Tokyo with his team. On site, Japanese architect Atsushi Ueda was monitoring the construction. After Puurakentajat Oy finished assembling the wooden structures, it was Ueda’s team’s turn to install windows and finish up the interior and the visible surfaces of the Pavilion.
“The design of the pavilion was quite different from Japanese style and structural design. The best thing is the prefabrication. Everything is manufactured in the factory, then just assembled on site. The pavilion was completed in a quite short time,” says Ueda.
Metsä Pavilion was partly built on top of an existing concrete garage, which served as the foundation for the pavilion.
“Lightweight wood elements are a great choice for building on top of existing structures. When designed well, new wooden structures can be easily built on top of older foundations,” Huttunen says.
Wooden elements are generally 4–5 times lighter than concrete or steel, so the machinery can also be lighter. A simple 25-tonne mobile crane was more than enough to lift the Kerto LVL elements into place. The connections between Kerto LVL elements were done as simply as possible, so no special tools were needed.
After the Olympics, the pavilion can be disassembled, and reassembled at another location. Atsushi Ueda and his company will be in charge of the disassembly, and the simple connections will make the task easy.
“The Japanese carpenters have been very easy to work with, even though we don’t have a common language,” says Huttunen. “We all know what we are doing.”
“It would be beneficial for both countries if we develop this connection and network for the future,” Ueda says. “The new era of construction with wood has just started in Japan. I strongly believe that this is a big opportunity for Finland, too.”
Watch a Talking Wood video with architect Atsushi Ueda talking about the Japanese and Finnish wood construction.
Read more about the Metsä Pavilion project.