Kokoon is a smart, modular building system developed for temporary accommodation in urban conditions. The modules are easy to transport and stack in different configurations to suit varying requirements.
The Wood Program Studio at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Finland designed and built the prototypes of Kokoon. Kokoon was one of the winners of Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood award. Open Source Wood is a path-breaking platform involved in the collection of designs for wooden elements and gathers together professionals in wood construction.
It was in 2016 that the first Kokoon modules were prefabricated at the Aalto University Architecture workshop in Otaniemi, Espoo. The design team scrutinized various options for the wood material to build the modules. Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) was selected as the main material due to its material efficiency. The characteristics of Kerto LVL Q-panels enabled a comparatively compact wall structure, offering more living space inside the module.
“I think this is a great idea showing how modular living can help in providing temporary housing for families,” stated Frank Werling, Head of Technical, Engineering and Design, Metsä Wood, and a member of the award jury. “This concept is an example of how to achieve flexible and functional temporary accommodation with Kerto. Kokoon modules are also adaptable for larger housing units and on an industrial scale,”
The structural design of the prefabricated modules makes them self-supporting and also helps them in supporting the weight of up to two modules above. Four glulam columns, positioned respectively at the four corners, transfer the load down through the assembled modules. The need for supplementary diagonal bracing was eliminated due to the stiffness and strength of the Kerto LVL Q-panels.
Efficiency with Off-Site Wood Construction
When prefabricated wooden elements are used, the construction becomes more efficient and the quality of construction projects is enhanced, since a majority of the work is done indoors under a controlled environment. Specifically, the use of Kerto LVL makes construction lighter, more rapid, and greener. The Kokoon prototype modules were prefabricated off-site at the Aalto University Architecture workshop in Otaniemi, Espoo, and transported to the construction site, where they were stacked, connected, and finalized.
“Prefabrication gives us possibilities to minimize the construction time on site, and to improve the final quality of the product we are providing to our users,” stated Philip Tidwell, a teacher in the Wood Program at Aalto University.
Kerto LVL on the Move
The modules have been relocated four times to various sites around the Helsinki area, proving that they are comparatively easy to disassemble and transport. Kokoon modules have been exhibited at the Museum of Finnish Architecture and on the grounds of the music festival Flow. Despite being lifted and transported a number of times, the rigidity of the modules ensured by the Kerto LVL Q-panels has enabled them to remain in excellent condition.
Open Source Wood
Metsä Wood’s Open Source Wood is a collaborative platform for engineers and architects to share their creations in modular wood construction. The best innovations using Kerto LVL, such Kokoon, receive awards from Open Source Wood’s panel of specialists. The initiative intends to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing in modular wood construction.