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Hybrid School

Demonstrator Type

Virtual Concept


Vantaa, Finland

Innovative solution

Partners Involved

Contact person

Design tool for temporary-permanent school hybrid system 

City of Vantaa / GXN / Vandkunsten / HSY / Ramboll

Building type

Structural material

Structural system

School building

Concrete - steel - timber hybrid 

Combination of permanent and temporary structures (modules)

Aim of the demonstration

The City of Vantaa needs more flexible ways to build schools for areas of changing capacity needs. The aim is to;

  1. Find an optimum combination of fixed school building and temporary modules.

  2. Find an easy, cost efficient and fast way to meet the growing (or decreasing) need for school capacity

  3. To design a composition in an effective way and implement playfulness in a proportion to enhance flexibility and lovability

The expected impacts

  • Increased material efficiency

  • Increased cost efficiency

  • Decreased carbon footprint

  • Increased circularity by reusing the modules

  • Time savings in the permitting and building processes

  • Pedagogical and social benefits


Activities done

  • Study on the most recent school projects in Vantaa, both temporary and permanent, finding base line data

  • Listing of reference cases

  • Dividing volume of recently built school into functional categories

  • Analysing the categories in terms of needs and the degree of rigidness and flexibility

  • Arguments to divide permanent and temporary structure

  • Three concepts based on permanent and temporary structures sketched

  • Study on temporary enabling structures/modules (steel/timber)

  • LCA calculations on concrete, steel and timber-based constructions

  • A comparison between conventional construction and prefabricated box construction; including Design for Disassembly, Design for Transport, and a hybrid version of the given typologies compared across environmental impact, economy, flexibility, and lovability.

  • A “ToolBox” to be used as a selection pallet for new school projects, regardless of program and placement with the foreseen future scenarios.

  • A case study application based on “Atomi”- school plan in Vantaa Aviapolis area (an area experiencing growing population)

  • Adapting the functions to the site, two scenarios: Blend with nature and Urban Composition


Demonstrated results


The resulting toolbox of the demonstrator indicates:

  • Timber box construction has the lowest upfront embodied carbon impact (46,2% lower than BAU)

  • Timber Prefab Box Construction design for DfT has the lowest embodied carbon impact over multiple redevelopments (65,8% lower than BAU and 23% lower than same system designed for DfD)

  • Placement of prefab boxes in small clusters results in the most balanced approach to achieve playfulness and efficiency of cost and carbon.

Increased flexibility is expected to relate to increased material use as well as cost. However, as demonstrated in the case study – it is not necessary to design the entire school for adaptability. Allowing for only 10% of modules to be highly adaptable (by enabling future relocation and/or extension) a 90% increase of capacity can be achieved on site.

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