Aalto University's Wood Program 30th anniversary project to Kuhmo Square

Every year, Aalto University students specialising in wood architecture carry out a Wood Program project. In the 30th anniversary year of the program, the City of Kuhmo is the partner. The project will be a stage and a platform on Kuhmo's main square.
View of a wooden structure in the market square landscape
The aim is to make the platform an architectural attraction and a new landmark in Kuhmo. It will also bring culture and events to the heart of the city. Photo: Wood Program 2024

‘Kuhmo's square is going to have something unique’, said Heikki Huotari, Chairman of Kuhmo City Council, at Otaniemi in Espoo, when wood architecture students presented their designs for the wooden structure to the square.

In November, wood architecture students from Aalto University visited Kuhmo to learn about the architecture, culture and nature of the area. All 17 students in the group designed their own proposal based on the visit. They were presented to the city representatives in December at Aalto University campus in Otaniemi, Espoo. It was decided to start working on the design based on Meina Kobyashi's sketch.

The aim is to make the platform an architectural attraction and a new landmark in Kuhmo. It will also enable the market culture to be revitalised. The aim is that the stage itself will inspire and lower the threshold for organising events. Culture belongs to everyone, and the platform will bring people into the heart of it.

Looking for innovative solutions

During the spring, students have been working on the draft in various working groups. A roof and walls have been added to protect the stage. The shape of the platform has also been tweaked. There is a phase of solving the challenges of acoustics, sound and prefabrication going on.

The structural challenge and architectural innovation of the stage are well suited to the plans of the City of Kuhmo. The city, known for its forests and wood industry, wants to continue to be a pioneer in wood construction, according to Pekka Horttanainen, city's Business Manager.

‘Kuhmo is used to doing demanding projects. There are many opportunities for the timber industry to showcase its expertise.’

The stage and platform “Kide” will be completed in Otaniemi in early June. The stage will be ready to be erected in Kuhmo's square in just over a week.

Projects in the Aalto University Wood Program include the Huoju-A multi-sensory wooden pavilion presented at the Sideways festival in Helsinki in summer 2023, the A°lava in the courtyard of Annantalo in Helsinki and the Kupla observation tower in the zoo island Korkeasaari, Helsinki.

More information:

Pekka Horttanainen, Business Manager, City of Kuhmo, +358 44 7255 304

Pekka Heikkinen, Professor of Wood Architecture, Aalto University +358 50 3773 786, [email protected]

Students' proposals, pdf

Read more:

Computer render of the stage and canopy on Kuhmo market, with people standing around. Sunlight from behind. Steps at front.

Kide – Wood Program

Kide is a performance stage for the market of Kuhmo, designed and built by students of the Wood Program 2024.

HuojuA pavilion photo

Huoju-A – a multi-sensory wooden pavilion

Mindful, experiential architecture.

A•LAVA summer theatre under constuction by the Wood Program at Aalto University. Photos: Marc Goodwin & Philip Tidwell

A•LAVA Project Information

A•LAVA is a summer theatre built to serve the needs of Annantalo, a Youth Arts Centre in Helsinki.

Wood Program
Architect doing handson work at the Wood Program of Aalto University. Photo by Anne Kinnunen

Wood Program

Study program focusing on wood architecture

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