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Timber building design for Stora Enso – the height of sustainable construction?

Our colleagues at Sweco Finland have continued their transformational timber journey recently, developing a unique mixed-use building concept for Stora Enso.

The unique wooden building concept consisting of Stora Enso’s own mass timber elements enables real estate investors to build up to a 7-storey adaptable wooden building, which can be freely divided into floors with mixed hotel and office use during the building’s lifetime, always reflecting the current market reducing risks.

Sweco was responsible for the structural design and timber engineering, MEP and HVAC systems for the concept, which includes several different layout options. The building can be, for example, U- or L-shaped or completely enclosed, including a functional courtyard.

The technical spaces and stairwells are identical in the modular building and placed at the opposite end corners of the floors, so that the largest useful floor area can be freely customized to the tenants’ needs. The building technology runs in uniform lines in the middle of the floors, sized to serve both purposes, as in, able to also accommodate the larger ventilation ducts for office use. The actual room sizes are not limited in the concept.

“Although there are many similarities between hotel and office use, the requirements for example sound insulation and ventilation efficiency are completely different and hotels have lots of bathrooms. I am proud of our design team, which was able to find a golden middle ground, so that when an office changes purpose to a hotel room, it still complies with the standards with no need to lower the ceiling hight”, says Project Manager Susanna Friman from Sweco Finland.

Sweco’s Nordic engineers are pioneers in structural timber, and all our UK building teams benefit from the shared experiences in timber projects already completed, including high-rise buildings, with a particular focus on structural engineering, fire engineering, acoustics, sustainability, wellness and construction.


To this purpose we established an international and multidisciplinary internal workgroup called Timber 360 to advise with confidence our clients on any aspect of the use of timber in buildings, for projects anywhere in the world and in turn from any Sweco location here in the UK.

Mauro Bono Sweco UK Technical Director and timber specialist

The wooden frame of the concept is built using Sylva™ by Stora Enso range of prefabricated wood-based products for low-carbon and cost-efficient wooden buildings. The Sylva kit consists of Sylva CLT (cross laminated timber) and Sylva LVL (laminated veneer lumber) elements, as well as Sylva LVL and Sylva GLT (glued-laminated timber) beams and columns. The concrete-structure stairwells act as stiffeners and the facade is curtained according to the customer’s wishes. The promised installation time for the wooden frame is 11 weeks, plus possible foundation work on site and any additional design work.

According to calculations commissioned by Stora Enso, the 7 storey wooden building shown in the concept navigator stores 408 tons of carbon over the life cycle, which implies that 1496 tons CO2-e are kept away from the atmosphere and stored in this building over its whole lifetime.

“It was great to be able to design a on a world scale unique woold building concept for Stora Enso. We see a lot of potential in the concept, for instance in connection to industrial investments that accelerate the green transition, where both accommodation and office capacity are quickly needed, and once the facilities are completed, permanent premises to cater new business hubs and increased tourism. When building something new, it must be done responsibly and flexibly. This concept also has great export potential for our engineering work”, Friman continues.

“Stora Enso is proud to cooperate with Sweco to having developed this mixed-use building concept. We clearly see the potential this encompasses to the construction industry, and we are happy to use the learnings from our new headquarters in maritime Helsinki where both companies have cooperated already to condense it into this all-new mixed use concept so it can be further used for many more projects around the world”, says Building Concepts manager Sebastian Hernandez from Stora Enso.

For further information on this project, please contact:

Tim Karike, Sweco Finland

For UK-specific discussions, please contact:

Mauro Bono, Technical Director