A modern wooden district for Tampere

Seven kilometres from the centre of Tampere, a new small town for 13,000 residents called Vuores will be built. The City of Tampere has set an ambitious target for the project - to carry out future construction by combining high-quality architecture, ecological building, a sense of unity, high technology and proximity to nature. The Vuores project will include a small modern district of 4,000 inhabitants called Isokuusi.

Project Manager, Pertti Tamminen, presents the Vuores project proudly and enthusiastically. “We have a vision of Vuores, in which wood construction has already been a theme for more than ten years. We wanted to be Finland’s, maybe even the world’s number one in something. That is the target. In our preparatory work, we have co-operated closely with building companies, developers, researchers and architects.” According to Tamminen, in the building of Vuores the aim is to model the construction of the future, emphasising ecological values such as energy- and material efficiency. ”We are involved in European urban construction based on sustainable development, in which we want to be profiled as an ecological and eco-efficient city," says Tamminen.

Increasing a city’s attraction through wood construction

Deputy Mayor Timo Hanhilahti stresses that, in Tampere, housing policy is considered one of the city’s forces of attraction. ”The smooth flow of everyday life for citizens, the diversity of the physical environment and the ease of availability of services are decisive factors that reinforce the attraction of cities. If, in a city, you feel like you are in a village with everything close by, we have succeeded," says Hanhilahti. ”These days, ecology is increasingly becoming a key factor in ethical urban policy.”

In Hanhilahti’s opinion, wood construction is ideal for this project. “We have noticed how, even in multi-storey apartment buildings, wood construction strongly creates a resident-friendly environment that can be reinforced with good architecture. We have also seen how well it corresponds to present ecological and ethical concepts of responsible, energy-efficient construction. Wood construction is highly suited to this Tampere project, especially in the new districts, where we can build sufficiently large urban environments using the material.

Planning carried out in partnership

“When general planning got underway, all parties were closely involved from the outset. We are not aiming to make a finished plan as was previously the case. We have asked different groups of developers and builders to get involved and make proposals concerning the plan,” says Tamminen about the planning method they have adopted.

”In practice, we are not putting projects out to tender, but requesting proposals from groups of companies, in which our partners present their idea for a wood construction solution for one residential complex including gardens. We will not start to make the actual plan until the ideas have been evaluated and the initial complexes have been reserved for the partners. In the planning work, we are taking advantage of international town-planning expertise. For the district of Isokuusi, as a basis for planning we have set a condition that wood must be used for the outsides of the buildings, construction must support the development of wood-frames systems (RunkoPES) and there must be space for shops, offices and other sources of employment.

Wood construction steered by planning

Deputy Mayor Timo Hanhilahti considers Isokuusi as a wood construction project in which the building of sufficiently large and diverse wooden house areas can be steered by planning. ”The district will get wooden detached house, terraced houses and apartment buildings, thus creating an urban wooden living environment and its related brand. In wood construction, we are clearly aiming for major new-build projects that will also contribute to the realisation of national targets set for wood construction. Tampere wants to be a model city for ecological, energy- and material-efficient construction,” says Hanhilahti.

”For me, wood construction is like local food, which is based on the utilisation of locally- sourced natural resources, materials and expertise. Wood construction is also a value choice and is significant to the economy and employment in the entire Tampere region. The city is also co-operating with Tampere University of Technology, which has an interest in the research and development of wood construction,” says Hanhilahti.

”Isokuusi will become an impressive, internationally significant site for wood construction,” he believes. ”We are also aiming to strengthen the identity of the city of Tampere architecturally. Throughout the world, personalised architecture and living make an impression and originality is valued. Instead of targeting fine, standardised and expensive construction, we are aiming for architecture and living environments that will support the construction of the future and reinforce Tampere's own identity.

Puuinfo article service/Markku Laukkanen

More information:
Deputy Mayor of Tampere, Timo Hanhilahti, +358 (0)40 800 4906, timo.hanhilahti@tampere.fi
Project Manager, Pertti Tamminen, +358 (0)400 638 218, pertti.tamminen@tampere.fi