Solutions in Wood
Since its origins in the 1930s as a sawmill in North-western Spain, FINSA has grown to become an industry leader in wood-based solutions and innovation, and today produces 2million m3 of engineered panels with an ever-expanding range of newly developed materials made from sustainably sourced and recycled timber.
Innovation is at the heart of FINSA’S ‘Solutions in Wood’ mantra. Stemming from three basic board types, namely chipboard, medium density fibreboard (MDF) and a proprietary hybrid panel called SuperPan, the manufacturer produces everything from high-performance structural panels to premium veneered materials, lightweight solutions, and bespoke panels to meet a given specification.
FINSA’s passion for timber construction can be seen in their new headquarters. MRM Architects redesigned this building as a huge living material library that celebrates timber construction and showcases their most innovative wood-based solutions. The proposal is based on a simple organisation and composition of open and flexible spaces, which aims to reflect the company’s new image while maintaining their philosophy of being a pioneer on the manufacturing of solutions in wood.
The building shows the predominant use of wood with a cross laminated timber (CLT) structure, floor and roof framing, suspended ceiling systems, and wall paneling. The different structural and constructive elements are arranged and designed with the least possible redundancy of materials and solutions. The volumetric simplicity is extended to the design of the glazed facades without visible framing, to enhance the feeling of ‘connection’ between the two existing buildings, as well as with the landscape, the nearby exterior, the building itself and the factory behind.
The first-floor acts as a central ‘plaza’ defined by various meeting rooms of different sizes and multi-purpose furniture to accommodate different meeting formats. The architects chose a grid structure with perimeter supports only on the two sides adjoining the existing buildings, thus achieving a highly versatile open plan. Based on a square module of 3 x 3m, it equally enhances all directions creating a dynamic space, underlining its centrality with dimensions which are perfect for generating the different meeting areas. Inside this grid, which is visible and defined by the structure of laminated wood beams, two elements are included: the staircase and the patio.
These emphasise the open plan around them in both levels of the building. Both elements also increase the verticality of the building and fulfill a double function: to expand the spatial perception of the ground floor and to connect both floors physically and visually through visual suggestive diagonals. In addition, numerous roof skylights improve the quality of the spaces, introducing abundant light diffuse in the grayest days of Santiago de Compostela .
SuperPan Tech P5
One of the highlights of the building is the use of FINSA’s SuperPan Tech P5, a multi-layer hybrid panel developed and patented by FINSA. The unique properties and high performance of SuperPan present a multitude of advantages when used in structural applications. SuperPan H Tech P5 (load bearing and moisture resistant) is increasingly recognised as a huge advancement in timber construction allowing for larger spans, thinner boards, and thus more efficient construction.
The flooring of La Conexion uses the board in 35mm to achieve a highly rigid system while spanning the large centres featured in the structure without the need for excessively thick panels. Thinner boards translate directly into a substantial cost saving, with benefits also found in storage, transport, and handling. This is just one of the many solutions that careful material selection has generated, the result of which is an extraordinarily unique space and a building that showcases what can be achieved when a manufacturer works in unison with designers and engineers.
La Conexion and MRM Architects, has won an accolade of awards for its innovative design and use of forward thinking materials which include:
• Honour Award in Wood Design & Building Awards 2018
• Architect Project of the Year Award from the Galician Government
• Shortlisted for the 14th Spanish Architecture Biennale
• Shortlisted for Egurtex Award 2018 (International Forum of Architecture & Construction in Wood)
In the 1940s the first particleboards were developed using primarily chipped, sawmill products and recycled wood. They then evolved to a more refined product which used wood fibres to create a more refined material – MDF.
In the year 2000, almost 40 years later, FINSA took the next step and developed a board that combined the strengths of these two materials, this was the creation of SuperPan. SuperPan is an innovative board with a unique composition, a new generation of technical wood manufactured by FINSA through a continuous pressing process. Despite having a great and technically evolved product, the development did not stop there.
FINSA invested in an entirely new custom production line, implementing the most advanced technology on the market specifically to manufacture this new generation of particleboard. In 2016, at the production centre in Nelas (Portugal), FINSA started production of the ‘new’ SuperPan.
Exclusively manufactured and patented by FINSA, SuperPan consists of five layers of coarse particles, fine particles, and wood fibre that when pressed together give the product great stability and high performance as well as a high resistance to loads, high impact resistance and an excellent balance between cost and value. The highdensity wood fibre faces combined with a particle core give SuperPan H Tech P5 excellent airtightness performance, which is certified by the Passive House Institute making it a key element of many high efficiency buildings.
VapourStop is the latest advancement which builds on the SuperPan H Tech P5 panel, featuring an integrated vapour control layer. This permits a significant reduction in additional membranes, labour and complexity. VapourStop is now being distributed in partnership with Ecological Building Systems (www.ecologicalbuildingsystems.com), specialists in passive house construction systems.
Niall Crosson, Group Technical Manager with Ecological Building Systems, said: “We are delighted to partner with FINSA in the establishment and exclusive supply of their range of innovative SuperPan boards in Ireland and the UK. The unique technical characteristics of the VapourStop board and its certification and environmental credentials make it the perfect partner for our range of innovative airtightness solutions.”
FINSA has demonstrated they are leading the way to advance the uptake of sustainable timber construction, with teams working tirelessly to create better solutions and enhancing performance with new developments. Superpan is opening the door to a multitude of opportunities where engineers, designers and architects can employ new systems to create better quality, more sustainable, and highly efficient buildings.
Whilst developing innovative materials, FINSA has ensured the process of creating these is not at the price of the environment. FINSA Factories have been designed and work to a strict criteria to ensure no energy is lost during the manufacturing process, through to the management of forests and using 100% of the felled tree. FINSA has gained and continues to gain sustainability certification across a number of bodies to continually improve their environmental standing.
To drive the best possible solutions, FINSA works collaboratively with clients to fully understand their needs, offering insight and developing optimised solutions. For those who are ready to step away from the conventional, FINSA has an impeccable track record of delivering impact and added value to those who choose to utilise their innovative solutions.
For more information visit: www.finsa.com