Just ahead of the holiday season, the Embassy had the pleasure of hosting the seminar "Constructing with Wood – Finnish perspectives on sustainable architecture" on 7 December, 2016.
Around sixty South African architects, construction experts, and government officials heard how constructing with wood has three benefits – it's fast, light and green! In Finland, modern wooden buildings are now considered safer in terms of fire safety standards than concrete buildings. The current quality and safety standards allow several-story-high wooden apartment buildings to become popular across the globe due to the comfortable environment they provide.
We would like to thank our excellent speakers: Mr. Teemu Hirvilammi from Hirvilammi Architects and Tampere University of Technology, Mr. Matti Mikkola, CEO of the Federation of the Finnish wood working industries, Mr. Sundeep Jivan from SAJ Architects, Prof. Piet Vosloo from the University of Pretoria, and Mr. Mikko Luikku from Finnish wood products company Pölkky, as well as our moderator Mr. Bertus Louw, all of the panelists and other participants!
The seminar proved useful in terms of prompting further engagements between South African and Finnish architects, as well as with South African government stakeholders to change the perceptions and mindset in South Africa regarding construction with wood. A special thanks to the Department of Trade and Industry’s Forestry Based Industries Division for their active involvement in this regard.
Those industry players who would like to continue the discussion on how to increase and speed up the use of wood in South African construction, please contact Mr. Leo Lähteinen at NPP (leo.lahteinen @ npp.co.za). For more information about Finnish wood products or expertise, please contact heta.pyhalahti @ finpro.fi.