I got a wonderful opportunity to visit Haltia, the new Finnish Nature Centre, a few days before the grand opening. They are planning to open the place on Friday 31 May, and invited a few bloggers for a visit last Tuesday.
I wrote one blog post already, presenting what Haltia has to offer in terms of Finnish nature and exhibitions. In this post, I’ll focus more on the architecture and technology
Finland has, for obvious reasons, long traditions of building with wood, but Haltia is the first public building built entirely of wood, of spruce, to be exact. Wood has been used throughout the project: from the supporting structures to the cladding. In time, the building will start to resemble an old tree: darker on the outside, lighter on the inside. Ingenious!
During the visit, we strolled up and down and back and forth in the building. Natural light comes in from everywhere, there are very large windows, or even window walls, all with a great view. It’s not a coincidence that you see the magnificent old pines everywhere you look.
The building was designed by the architect Rainer Mahlamäki. You should read the description of the architecture on Haltia’s website. Not often do you see public buildings described with this much poetry: The sweeping curve of the north wall draws Haltia snugly into the rock’s embrace.
Design touches everything in the building. These small storage cabins are for all the kids coming to the nature school.
As ecology has been one of the cornerstones of the design, the building aims for 75 % energy self-sufficiency. The house is packed with top-notch technology, not because it’s cool or trendy, but because it’s environmentally friendly and an integral part of what Haltia is. The description of their ecotechnology is jaw-dropping, and I’m not exaggerating one bit.
Heating and cooling relies on geothermal heat and solar collectors (not solar panels). Extra heat is stored and pumped back into the house when it gets colder. Below the exhibition area, there’s a large tech room. If you feel like enjoying a cold beer on the sunny terrace upstairs, you should know that it has been cooled with these black little, um, containers.
Solar collectors are placed on the roof. The longish bench-like formations in front of the collectors are stands for solar panels, which will be installed later to generate electricity. The roof is grass-decked by the way. And the view. I’m telling you, it’s impressive.
I love my home forest, but I love what Haltia has to offer. Come to Finland and check it out. And, to make it clear, I’m writing these posts independently and without any reward. I’m just genuinely impressed, that’s all.
♥ In the meantime: Whenever there’s a heat wave in Finland, we celebrate. But to be quite honest, these weather extremes are increasing. And increasing.
♠ Song of the day: Biffy Clyro, Skylight