Open Source Wood hackathon goes online – virtual innovation event organised by Metsä Wood and FCBA

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The 8th Open Source Wood hackathon was the first one to be organised virtually and taking place in several locations at the same time. The hackathon challenged the participating engineering and architecture students from France and Switzerland as well as students and research scientists from Canada to innovate ways to reuse wood. Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood is an initiative aiming to increase modular wood construction all over the world.

The hackathon challenged some 70 participants to design a fast, light and green wooden element using Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) products. The hackathon – organised by Metsä Wood, the French FCBA and Canadian FPInnovations – took place on 17–18 November with a theme to find ways to reuse wood.

The challenge inspired participants to design wooden elements for various kinds of buildings. Some teams focused on rebuilding a damaged building with new wooden modules, and others wanted to erect new buildings with wooden building systems, which can easily be disassembled and reconstructed.

The participants were divided into nine teams, and each team had its own cooperation and planning virtual space. The challenge was done in several phases and after each phase all the participants joined an online meeting to report on their progress and to hear the targets for the next phase.

“It was a very intensive and successful exercise to push wood construction innovation in a digital environment. Participants were very open-minded and keen to innovate together. They also got help from facilitators, such as teachers or connector experts, who followed the teams closely,” says Xavier Colin, Business Development Manager at Metsä Wood.

Limited time to hack

Each team had just six hours to do the planning and to create 2D or 3D illustrations of their concept and the presentation material.

Myriam Drouin, research professional at Laval University in Canada, was happy with the experience.

“It is interesting to have a limited time to work on a project you could easily spend a week on. We had a good set of skills and personalities, who were split into smaller working groups to take the idea forward. It was a great team experience.”

The participants came from six universities, namely ESB, ENSTIB and ESTP in France, EPFL in Switzerland and Laval and Sherbrooke in Canada and research scientists from FPInnovations in Canada.

The reuse of wood is important for future

The jury was impressed with the teams’ results, but just one team could win. The winning team presented a multi-storey building concept named “ModulaR3” utilising a modular post and beam system. The main innovation is its connector system for easily removable external walls. In addition, two teams received special prizes, team FPInnovations for inventiveness and team ESTP for its realistic solution.

“The reuse of wood is a hot topic in R&D looking at the future of construction. Buildings should be easy to disassemble and reconstruct to save resources,” says Jean-Luc Kouyoumji, a jury member in the hackathon and Consultant at FCBA in France.

As the reuse of wood is a big topic in Kouyoumji’s and FCBA’s work, they will give the winner the opportunity to print a mock-up of their system. The work will also feature in a FCBA article presenting the system, its benefits and future opportunities. Also, the winning team will be supported technically if they need help to develop their project.


Winner: “ModulaR3” from team University Laval, Canada

Innovation award: “Tomorrow panel’ from team FPInnovations

Realism award: “Cap Là” from team ESTP, France

Images of the hackathon:

For more information, please contact:

Viivi Kylämä, Marketing Manager, Metsä Wood
tel. +358 40 820 9850,


For press information in UK, please contact:

Matt Trace, Director, Defero Communications
tel. 07828663988,

Metsä Wood

Metsä Wood is one of the leading European producers of engineered wood products. Metsä Wood is committed to serving construction, industrial and distribution customer with  competitive and environmentally friendly wood products. Metsä Wood’s  products include Kerto® LVL, plywood and other wood products.

Metsä Wood's sales in 2019 were EUR 0.4 billion, and currently employing approximately 1,500 people. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group.

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