To be constructed in the Finnish city of Espoo, Espoo House is an ambitious 24,000 m2 municipal building project designed to serve decision-makers, city employees, and residents. The scheme, which results from a competition-winning entry from Danish architecture studio Cobe and Finnish Lundén Architecture Company, forms part of a larger masterplan as one of five major urban centres proposed for Espoo and stands out for its distinctive form and ambitious use of wood.
Extending from north to south across train tracks, the project offers a foundation for unifying strongly divided sides of the city. Taking into account its surroundings, the form of the building is made up of a series of rectangular volumes that vary in height and response to context. Capping this is a sculptural roof profile that will bring a recognizable landmark to the city.
A programmatic distribution with a mix of workspaces and public areas throughout the building promotes interaction, social encounters, and dialogue between city representatives and Espoo residents. The ground floor is an open and flexible extension of the public outdoor spaces. Public space extends vertically within the building, from the ground to the uppermost level. An atrium-like public space transforms its shape and size on each floor, providing flexible and diverse meeting places for all. The atrium also allows natural light to fill the central parts of the building. The top floor includes a public multi-purpose hall and winter garden, resulting in an ideal setting for large public events with expansive city views.
In line with Finland’s history of wooden construction, the project will be constructed primarily of wood, including wood columns and beams in mass timber, slabs of CLT and a wooden clad façade. Further minimizing the emission of CO2 compared to traditional concrete construction, wood will also be applied throughout the interior of the building. This move also offers a warmth not typically associated with more formal versions of municipal buildings.
The load-bearing mass timber structure features a span of 6x6 meters. These dimensions were selected to minimize material use for the building while also providing generous room heights. The wooden nature of the structure also offers flexibility for different layouts on each floor as the wooden post and beam structure affords the division of space in various ways, with different floor levels accommodating unique spatial solutions tailored to different work environments, thus extending the building’s lifecycle and useability.
Construction of Espoo House is anticipated to commence in early 2026, with building completions slated for 2029.