Maatullin School/

Fors Arkitekter

Rebecka Blomqvist


Project Details



Helsinki / Finland



Year (Design/Construction):

2021 / 2024

Area (Net/Gross):

- / 9500 m2
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • The project is one of the first school buildings in Finland built with a timber structure, challenging local conventions of using concrete as the primary building material. The structure consists of a combination of glulam columns and CLT slab and exterior walls.
  • Local spruce is used for the exterior walls cladding.
  • Solar panels on the roof provide part of the electricity needs of the school.
  • The school yard is kept green with as little hard pavement as possible, which creates a natural water drainage system.
  • The learning gardens around the school with local trees and plants will strengthen the students’ relationship and care for nature and ecology.
  • The landscape around the school is designed to encourage students to arrive by bicycle.
  • Generous bike parking areas have been placed close to all entrances and cars are generally not allowed to enter the area.

Project description as provided by the Architects.

The Maatullin School is an urban forest school, inspired by its location in a lush and green park area in Helsinki’s suburb Tapulikaupunki. The school is divided into a village of small wooden buildings placed around a circular green courtyard called ‘The Forest Glade’. The division of the program brings a human scale, improves wayfinding and helps even the youngest students to feel at home. The central courtyard is the heart of the community and invites students and residents to gather, learn and participate in events in a green and inspiring environment.

The school design is characterized by its tactile wooden façades, interior and structure. The use of wood is deeply rooted in the Nordic building tradition, and creates a warm and inviting space for young students to feel safe and comfortable. The wooden façade with vertical ribs draws inspiration from trees and creates a dynamic interplay between outside and inside, meanwhile strengthening the urban image of a school in the forest. The building has five different façade types, to highlight each block’s unique program and character.

Throughout the building, students have direct access to nature, which has been found to aid learning and create mental well-being. The landscape design aims to preserve existing vegetation and topography, and strengthen the area’s natural character with local plants inspired by Finland’s forests. The school yard is divided into social and active areas, as well as quiet spaces for concentration. Closest to the school lay a series of learning gardens that support outdoor teaching to strengthen the children’s understanding and respect for nature.

Lead Design Architects: Fors Arkitekter, Rebecka Blomqvist

Executive Architect (after competition stage): Talli Oy

Landscape Architect (after competition stage): Masu Planning

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