Finnish Fins: a novel approach to short-span, timber-only bridges by the use of stiffening fins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena


Using wood as building material has long tradition in many countries, and it is deeply rooted in Finnish culture. The Finnish tradition of wooden building comprises from the primordial sauna and small houses, to the development of wooden churches and towns, and nowadays to large span structures and multi-story building (see Norris [1] or Keskisalo [2]). Today the presence of a highly developed Finnish timber industry paired with a strong commitment to sustainability provide the basis for advanced solutions, both structurally and architecturally.
The city of Kouvola is about to realize a high quality, recreational route for pedestrians and cyclists. In order to improve the functional connections and the recreational activities on the Kymi riverfront approximately a dozen of wooden bridges in a variety of spans, most of them in the range of 6 to 10 m will be built. Even though they will have different structural configurations, they will create a “family” of bridges, sharing common design aspects.
This paper presents a novel approach for one of the above-mentioned, bridges: 6 m span and approximately 1 m in width, where fin-like stiffeners are utilized for three different purposes. Firstly, a set of non-continuous, vertical timber fins is stiffening the deck of a bridge. Secondly, the fins are form-defining elements for the planar or elastically bent and therefore arched deck. Thirdly, the fins will function as railings, seats, etc.
Numerical and experimental investigations are carried out in order to analyze the influence of several parameter on the structural behavior of the bridge. Among others (a) the position and orientation of the fins, (b) the overlapping distance between fins, and (c) the geometric characteristics of the fins and the deck are investigated.
Based on the results of the investigations an alternative design concept is introduced that combine aesthetic, sustainability and easiness of construction.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForm and Force
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
- Crowne Plaza Hotel, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 7 Oct 201910 Oct 2019
Conference number: 60

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IASS Annual Symposia
ISSN (Electronic)2518-6582


ConferenceAnnual Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Abbreviated titleIASS
Internet address

    Research areas

  • active bending, structural membrane, Minimal surfaces, experimental structure, geometric non-linearity, FEM, large deformations

ID: 34353911