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Getting the look – and the sound – just right

Finnforest recently delivered the structure for a timber concert hall based on its Kerto® laminated veneer lumber to the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The project drew on the expertise of some of the world’s leading experts in concert hall and theatre design, acoustics, and engineering – and has resulted in a hall with excellent acoustics.
Metsäliitto Wood Products Industry, Finnforest

The interior of the hall, designed by Paris-based Fabre Speller Pumain Architects, is clad entirely in 20 cm Finnforest Kerto® laminated veneer lumber (LVL), covered with birch plywood. Timber was selected for the internal cladding of the hall by the theatre’s artistic director, Valerie Gergiev, who was inspired by the acoustics of timber-built concert halls in Lahti and Savonlinna in Finland – both of which feature Finnforest’s timber products and engineering and design expertise.

Working closely with the world-leading acoustic designer, Yasuahisa Toyota, Finnforest designed and supplied 600 m³ of Kerto to produce an inner cladding that would enhance the acoustic performance of the hall, with no gaps or open joints.

The interior of the new concert hall at the Mariinsky Theatre is clad entirely in Kerto laminated veneer lumber covered with birch plywood.

Strong, straight, and dimensionally stable

A high-tech product designed for advanced structural engineering and demanding architectural solutions like the Mariinsky Concert Hall, Kerto is marketed worldwide and has been granted national building code approval in 19 countries.

Kerto is produced from 3 mm, rotary-peeled softwood veneers that are laminated together to form a continuous billet. The billet is then hot-pressed and sawn to size to produce beams, planks, posts, and panels that can be used as such or processed into a variety of value-added products.

As a dimensionally stable material with excellent strength that is stronger, straighter, lighter, and more stable than most commercially sawn timber, Kerto is ideal for use in roof beams, floor joists, wall studs, trusses, intermediate floors, and roofing decks, for example. New applications, such as box beams, roof elements, and ribbed panels, are being developed at several locations across Europe, including Finnforest Merk in Germany, which was closely involved in the Mariinsky project.

Kerto-S is normally supplied in the form of straight beams for use in joists, trusses, and frames; while Kerto-Q is cross-bonded, offering enhanced lateral bending strength and stiffness, and less moisture-dependent variation across its width, making it the better choice for floor and wall panels and as a stabilising component.

Kerto wins innovation award

Professor Matti Kairi and Kerto products were awarded the Schweighofer Prize, Europe’s leading innovation award in the forest products industry, in June 2007.

Matti Kairi, now Professor of Wood Technology at the Helsinki University of Technology, worked with Kerto products for 30 years and played a key role in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of Kerto products.

> Johanna Kankkunen
(Published in HighTech Finland 2008)