Metsä Pavilion in Tokyo

Metsä Pavilion

Location 3-5-39 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8561 Japan
Building Year 2020
Architect Helin & Co. Architects
Structural Design AINS Group
Constructor Metsä Group
Customer Business Finland
Products Used Kerto LVL
Type Public Buildings
End-Use offsite; wood elements

Modern Metsä Pavilion opens in Tokyo – the result of rapid offsite construction with wooden elements

The Metsä Pavilion in Tokyo is the showcase of fast wooden element construction. The contemporary building was constructed at a rapid pace to serve as an event platform for Finnish companies from October 2020 until the end of year 2021. During the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics it will serve as the home base for Finnish national teams. It took only two weeks to assemble the load-bearing wooden structure of the Pavilion. This is due to the prefabricated Kerto LVL elements which make construction fast, light and green.

Metsä Pavilion in Tokyo 
 

As the name Metsä Pavilion implies, the wooden building is constructed of Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber). The pavilion was planned by Helin & Co Architects. The Metsä Pavilion is Business Finland’s project and Metsä Group is the main partner.

‘The Metsä Pavilion provides a unique chance for Finnish companies to show their expertise and make Finland known in Japan. Historically, the pavilion is one of the biggest investments Business Finland has made in the Japanese market. It is also a great way to contribute to the success of the games, and the Japanese really respect it’, says Petri Tulensalo, Head of Sports Cluster at Business Finland.

Industrially engineered wood construction

Engineered wood construction 
 

Stylish buildings with standard LVL elements

Jussi Björman, Director Business Development, Construction at Metsä Wood, is also satisfied with the Metsä Pavilion, a project launched two years ago.

‘Japan has a great tradition in wood construction, but the use of wood in multi-storey buildings is a fairly new phenomenon. The Metsä Pavilion is part of our business plan for that market’, says Björman.
The pavilion is a showcase of how to construct a stylish building fast by using standard elements.

‘We value the freedom of the architects and engineers to design in an aesthetically pleasing way. With our Open Source Wood Initiative, we want to enable them with a variety of options’, explains Björman.

In the Open Source Wood community, wood building professionals around the world can share element designs and learn from each other. The designs for the elements used in the Metsä Pavilion are freely available at Opensourcewood.com.

Elements designs available

Multiple glued columns
Intermediate floor elements
Roof elements
Wall studs
Multiple glued beams

open Source wood

Offsite  construction

Offsite construction 
 

Prefabricated elements in standard sizes

The quick pace of constructing the Metsä Pavilion stems from many things. The Kerto LVL elements, columns, and beams were prefabricated at the Timberpoint element factory in Loviisa, Finland. It took just seven weeks to produce them.

It was also easy to minimise waste as the Kerto LVL elements, columns, and beams were produced in standard sizes that fit the Kerto LVL production lines and Timberpoint’s factory.

‘It is an innovative thing that the element producer shared his expertise with the structural designer before the planning started. In general, we all had the will to create together the best possible Metsä Pavilion’, says Björman.

The wall elements are made of Kerto LVL T-studs  and Kerto LVL Q-panels. The roof and intermediate floor elements are made using Kerto LVL S-beams and Q-panels.

Intermediate floor elements

The intermediate floor elements have S-beams used as ribs and Q-panels on both sides. An insulation layer has been added in between the panels.

Roof elements of the pavilion
The roof elements of the pavilion contain Kerto LVL S-beams. Q-panels are used on both sides and also as the top panels. The roofing is placed on top of the roof elements.

The wall elements are made of Kerto LVL T-studs and Kerto LVL Q-panels.

Assembly  on site

Assembly on site 
 

Construction at a rapid pace

Other benefits of offsite construction were apparent on site. It was quick to build with wood as it is a lightweight material, that is, 4–5 times lighter than concrete. Additionally, the great workability of Kerto LVL brought rapidness to the process. Puurakentajat, the subcontractor of the element producer Timberpoint, was responsible for the construction.

‘We constructed the wooden structure in just ten days. A 25-tonne auto crane was enough to lift the light Kerto LVL elements’, says Jyrki Huttunen, CEO at Puurakentajat. The company is experienced in the construction of wooden multi-storey residential buildings, kindergartens, and schools. 

Japanese architect Atsushi Ueda’s team continued from here with the installation of the windows and completed the décor and visible surfaces of the pavilion. 

Later on, the building can be disassembled and assembled again at a new location.

Load-bearing structure

Values guide Metsä Group's operations 
 

Strong to resist wind and earthquake loads

The Metsä Pavilion’s load-bearing structure consists of Kerto LVL. The structure is planned to resist the strong winds and potential earthquakes in Japan.

‘The roof elements add rigidity to the structure and transmit the wind and earthquake loads through the walls to the foundation. An additional diagonal support ensures the stability of the connections in between the roof and columns’, says Lasse Hietanen, Project Manager at AINS Group, who planned the structural design of the Metsä Pavilion.

Both the back area and the walls incorporating Kerto LVL Q-panels at the end of the gable are supported by the old garage building.
Supporting roof and floor
In the load-bearing structure, the primary Kerto LVL S-beams support the roof and floor elements.
The massive, trapezoid-shaped columns

​The massive, trapezoid-shaped Kerto LVL Q-columns and Kerto LVL S-columns support the primary Kerto LVL S-beams.

​In front of the Metsä Pavilion, the main columns stand on a new foundation structure.

Connections

Metsä Pacilion connections 
 

Simple connections with massive screws

50 cm long screws were used to make the timber-to-timber-connections strong because of the special conditions in Japan. The screws also ensure that, later on, the disassembly process by Atsushi Ueda’s team is easy.  

The connections between the primary beams and columns include specifically designed steel parts, which create an illusion that the roof is levitating in the air. 

The main columns were bolted to the foundation, just like one would build any other multi-storey building. This solution also adds to the requirement of the stylish look of every detail.

Fire-safety

Finnish norms applied

The Metsä Pavilion is built according to the Finnish fire-safety norms, because the construction site is owned by the State of Finland.  

Jussi Björman states that many proven solutions were used to make the building fire safe. The Kerto LVL structures have a 30-minute fire resistance rating. The exits are situated at both ends of the building so a sprinkler system wasn’t needed.

Project  finished

Metsä Pavilion project finished 
 

New kind of pavilion

The Metsä Pavilion has met the expectations of Business Finland and Metsä Wood. The pavilion is proof that stylish buildings can be constructed from prefabricated wooden elements. It is also a great example of industrial efficiency. 

‘We are pleased that the Metsä Pavilion will serve Finnish companies and athletes in a new way compared to previous pavilions. The hosts can organise all kinds of events, concerts and meetings there in addition to parties. We are really proud of the end-result’, highlights Björman.

Meetings, seminars, brunches, evening gatherings, and many more events will be hosted in the Metsä Pavilion, representing Finland as an innovative, functional, and responsible country.

‘We are happy that many companies have decided to bring their events to the Metsä Pavilion, where wood meets nature scenery on the walls, world-class audio, and design furniture – all from Finland’, adds Tulensalo.

In the evening, one can see the illuminated Tokyo Tower from the terrace.

Rapid offsite construction with  wooden elements

The team

Pekka Helin, Architect SAFA, FISE AA

​Pekka Helin is an internationally renowned architect and the founder of Helin & Co Architects in Finland.

Helin has produced a wide variety of projects of all scales, including architectural and urban planning, interior, industrial, graphic and visual design. Helin & Co Architects has steered projects through complex processes of rigorous review and public scrutiny, guiding effectively projects to successful conclusions. He has won 40 first prizes in domestic and international architectural competitions.

For his architectural practice, Helin has been nominated for 55 awards in Finland and abroad, for example, in 2006 he received the State Award for Architecture as well as the Wood Award of the Year. Additionally, in 2015, Metsä Group Head Office in Finland by Helin & Co Architects was selected as one of the shortlisted projects in the Wood Architecture Awards.

During his career, Helin has given several lectures at universities, conferences, and associations of architecture in Europe, America, and Asia. His works have been shown in touring exhibitions and international publications.

Lasse Hietanen, Structural designer

​Lasse Hietanen is a Project Manager at AINS Group in Finland. He received his bachelor's degree in engineering from JAMK University of Applied Sciences in 2013. In addition to this, he has completed design training on demanding wooden structures organised by Puuinfo in 2017.

Tokyo's Metsä Pavilion structure was designed by Hietanen's team. His references include numerous renovations of both public and private buildings, including, for example, universities and residential real estates. Hietanen's own speciality is structure design for demanding renovation sites, and, especially, designing wooden structures.

Atsushi Ueda, Architect

​Atsushi Ueda is a renowned architect and the founder of the "Guest House" architect office in Tokyo, Japan. He graduated from the Chiba Institute of Technology and was the Vice President of the Japanese Log House Association as an engineer. In 2019, he established "Finland Log House Promotion Association FLPA" with Finnish log house manufacturers in Japan.

Guest House has done wooden house planning and building for almost 30 years. In 2015 and on several occasions before that, the company won the Log House of the Year in Japan award.

Marko Suonpää, CEO

​Marko Suonpää (CEO) founded Timberpoint Oy in 2016. Timberpoint is specialised in manufacturing and assembling solid wood. Timberpoint has produced Kerto LVL elements for the Metsä Pavilion, and wall, roof and intermediate floor elements for two wooden apartment buildings in the Woodcity Block in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, Finland. 

Suonpää studied wood technology in Kymenlaakso Polytechnic and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1996.