Metla House – Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland

The Project

An inspiration in glass and wood
Striking design

Metla House is the largest wooden office building in Finland and the biggest forest research centre in Europe. The building has three storeys and is designed to accommodate 225 people. It consists of offices, laboratories and communal spaces such as a lobby bar. Metla staff moved into the new building at the end of October 2004.
Glass & wood in fusion
The goal was to produce an inspiring working environment by using Finnish wood together with glass in an innovative way. Wood is naturally the main material in the building, from the post-beamslab system in the structural frame to the exterior cladding. The courtyard entrance is flanked by walls made of 100-year old timber and the walls have also been protected against climatic conditions by ‘terva’ pine tar which is a traditional and natural wood preservative in Finland.
One of the reasons for choosing Pilkington Suncool™ 66/33 and Pilkington Optitherm™ SN was for the excellent transparency & low reflectivity that both products offer which was an architectural requirement for the façades. This resulted in providing natural light to the atrium as well as creating an open spatial environment to the inside of the building without the façade visually separating the outer and inner sections of the building.
The lunch canteen is located on the ground floor with a glass façade of Pilkington Suncool™ 66/33. Due to the solar control glass used the temperature in the canteen remains pleasant during summer months.
The excellent transparency of the glass is noticeable during evening hours when internal lighting makes the wooden pillars inside the building clearly visible resulting in a fascinating view.
Overturned boat design
The Metla meeting room, a shingled roofed conference room in the inner court of the house resembles an overturned boat split partly on the outside and partly on the inside of the building by a glass façade. The tilted wooden columns can be seen through the glass façade especially when illuminated. The idea for the tilted wooden columns was derived from fish chests used for catching lampreys.
Subsequently, the wooden construction featuring a glass façade to increase light transmittance has been promoted through various governmental programmes in Finland and several wooden constructions have already been built. One of the best known is the Sibelius Hall in Lahti – a concert and congress centre situated on the site of the old Lahti Glass Factory.

* Pilkington Optitherm™ SN has been discontinued and instead we recommend the use of Pilkington Optitherm™ S3 or Pilkington Optitherm™ S1A - low emissivity glass with improved performance.

  Project ReferenceGL_PR0032
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Project Details
Joensuu, North Karelia, Finland
Opening Date
Building Type
  • Exhibition and Convention Center
  • Education
Forrest Research Institute
About the Architect/Installer
Professor Antti-Matti Siikala, SARC Oy
Benefit Led Categories
  • Solar Control
  • Thermal Insulation