Finnish firm offers €30,000 prize to kick start open-source wood design

Finnish materials firm Metsä Wood has launched the Open Source Wood initiative to encourage architects and engineers to make more use of the material. The idea is to make the company’s own intellectual property freely available to designers, and as an additional incentive, to offer a €30,000 prize for "exceptional designs" that are undertaken as part of the initiative and use one of its product lines.

Esa Kaikkonen, Metsä’s vice president, said: "Not enough knowledge about modular wood design and building is shared, so wood construction remains niche. There is plenty of innovation but it’s difficult to find, so Open Source Wood is our solution. We believe that with open collaboration the industry can achieve significant growth."

At present, concrete and steel dominate construction, leaving wood with a share of between 5% and 10% of the global materials market. Metsä believes that this does not reflect the fact that wood is "an optimal material for urban construction as it enables faster building processes". What is more: "Its lightness leads to more affordable structures and it is the most environment- friendly building material, battling climate change through carbon storage."

The initiative is also inspired by open source ideology, which claims that innovation is accelerated by information sharing. The company is priming the pump by sharing data on its own modular Kerto wood elements.

The firm is offering the prize money during 2017 to exceptional designs that use its Kerto system.

Images courtesy of Metsä Wood

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