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The Finnish education system is regarded around the world as one of the best and most successful and has earned a reputation across the country of achieving a high level of education. In addition, Finland is always open to innovations in the field of education. There are very few restrictive legal requirements in constructing school buildings, meaning that new, architectural concepts can be implemented successfully. Furthermore, attractively designed rooms can increase the well-being of the people who use them and can improve personal performance. The Finns use this knowledge in the construction of schools and are successful with it. The spaces in which learning and teaching take place are planned, constructed and fitted out with great care. Thus, the school building itself becomes a valuable component in putting together a successful education policy.1 “Learning is not only based on books, lectures and audio or video recordings, but also on the school building and the hidden curriculum within. With its visual, tactile and acoustic impact, the learning environment has an interactive effect on the growth of children and adolescents. The school building and its surrounding grounds can serve as a place of learning and observation in a positive way,” emphasises Reino Tapaninen, chief architect of the Finnish Central Office for Teaching in Helsinki.2 The choice of flooring in the design concepts in Finnish schools should not be underestimated - both from the artistic point of view as well as in terms of functionality. The following three Finnish schools and universities are examples of different concepts which use nora rubber floor coverings.
¹ 1 Cf. Altenmüller, U. (2008): Finnish Learning Landscapes, P. 1 ff.
² Cf. Altenmüller, U. (2007): Koulu - School in Finnish, P. 13
Juteinikeskus is a comprehensive school in Parola in southern Finland. The school offers the students a learning environment which from 2014 to 2016, was re-designed based on an open concept. So, with the exception of a few teaching areas, the school’s classrooms are completely open and not divided, which has had both a peaceful and stimulating effect on its users. “The school’s premises were designed in such a way that all rooms can be used for learning purposes. The design and the colour of the furniture are uniform throughout the school, so that they can be moved freely, without compromising the look,” says interior designer Reeta Lukka.³ Another important criterion in relation to the design was acoustics - especially considering that up to 90 pupils would be working in the open areas at the same time. This is where nora system’s floor coverings, installed during the renovation work at Juteinikeskus, come into play. “Our rubber floors have very good acoustic properties as they significantly reduce the noise of footsteps thanks to their long-term elasticity. This reduction of the noise level in the busy school building with an open learning environment has had a significant impact on the pupils’ ability to concentrate and on their well-being”, adds Jouni Koivisto, Regional Sales Director of Finland.
Architect: Mikko Uotila
Product: noraplan® sentica, norament® serra
Quantity: 4,100 m²
Urjala is a Finnish town also located in the south of the country. The local comprehensive is a relatively new school, completed in spring 2017. Around 400 students from years 1 to 9 are taught at the school which has nora’s rubber floor coverings installed. “I have known nora floor coverings my whole professional life, since about the 1980s”, sums up the responsible architect Mikko Uotila. “I always recommend nora rubber floors, since they have a lot of great properties. They are very comfortable under your feet, because their surface is soft, warm and elastic. This elasticity also ensures that noise from footsteps is reduced, which is important in schools, which are always busy”, adds Uotila. “In addition, nora floors are easy and economical to clean due to their dense surface,” said the architect. Another benefit he mentions is that “nora floor coverings are available with additional functional properties (for example, as electrostatically conductive or as a special non-slip R11 variant) as well as in many different colours, which opens up a world of artistic possibilities”.
About 100 kilometres north of Helsinki is the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, with approximately 5000 students. nora rubber floor coverings were installed here during renovation in 2018 due to their great functional and visual properties. “We have used nora floors for a number of projects already as they have excellent acoustic properties and are very economical. Their dense surface makes them easy to clean and means they do not require any coating that would have to be renewed over time”, explains architect Seppo Markku. “In addition, the floors are very durable and that is exactly what we need in a university such as Lahti, whose buildings are heavily frequented and used around the clock,” says Markku. In addition, the floor’s colour design is of great importance for the University: “The colour scheme in the rooms and in the hallways was important because colours help with orientation in large buildings. The various wings of the building were designed in different colours and nora offers a wide selection of colours. We chose bright colours for pedagogical reasons. Like a colourful field of flowers, they convey cheerfulness, optimism and many other positive properties - in other words, exactly the things that contribute to student motivation”.
³ cf. https://martela.com/reference/juteinikeskus, 16.9.2019
|Building||1. Juteinikeskus, Parola, 2. Comprehensive school, Urjala (Urjalan yhtenäiskoulu) 3. Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu)|
|Architect||Aarne von Böhm (Parola), Mikko Uotila (Urlaja), Seppo Markku (Lahti)|
|Photographer||© Jukka-Pekka Juvonen|
|Photos||Header Image and #7, #8: Lahti University of Applied Sciences, #1, #2 Juteinikeskus Parola, #3-#6 Comprehensive school Urlaja|
Rubber flooring in a filigree design with contrasting colors and accents. Silk-matte surface with subtle texture and visual depth.
Rubber floor covering with a changing base colour of harmoniously matched colour components.
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