Maatulli School and Kindergarten

The vision for Maatulli School and Kindergarten has been to create an urban forest school, inspired by its location in a park area in a suburb of Helsinki, which enriches the whole neighborhood. The building opens up towards the park in all directions and connects the existing paths so that the green schoolyard so it becomes a natural part of the school and the park and one large learning environment. The school is divided into a village of small wooden buildings placed around the circular green courtyard ‘The Forest Glade’. The division of the program sets the framework for a human scale school environment, where learners of all ages can orientate themselves and 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. Throughout the building, students have direct access to nature, which has been found to aid learning and create mental well-being.

The Maatullin school 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. 

The landscape is designed to support learning, movement and community, as well as to strengthen students' understanding and respect for nature. 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 organic 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.

Excerpt from the judge's report:
'The judging committee considers the winning proposal to be meritorious, especially in regard to landscape design and urban ecology. The core of the proposal is nature, which is experienced to continue into the interior of the building. The forest glade in the middle of the multifunctional building create its own peaceful outdoor area, which brings natural light into the building and diversifies the use of outdoor spaces as learning spaces, which supports the educational goals of the school.'

Helsinki, Finland

School and kindergarten

Helsinki City

Lead Design Architect (Prime consultant)

Rebecka Blomqvist, Competition and 1st phase  (Sub-consultant)
Talli Oy, Executive architect (Sub-consultant)

10.000 m2

1st prize, two-phased competition
Building is under construction and set to be completed summer 2024