Senate Properties and Finnish Forest Research Institute organised an invited competition for a research centre in the spring 2002. Metla is the biggest forest research centre in Europe. In 2005 there should be one hundred people working in the organisation. The competition was won by SARC Architects.
The site is at the edge of University of Joensuu campus area and single family house residential area. The typology with a closed exterior and an intimate small-scale courtyard refers to the near by university buildings. In order to demonstrate the role of the institute as an endpoint of red brick public buildings urban axis and the expertise of wood and forest in the building wood is used extensively.
The programme consists of offices, laboratories and common spaces like lobby bar encouraging people to get together. The structure with long spans enables flexible use of the building. Simple volume saves heating costs while vertical wooden shades protect from excess heat. The research centre is the first Finnish office building with a wood structure.