Finnish whitewood and laminated panels supplied by UPM have been used to create a free-standing wooden tower in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The three-storey booktower, by Norway-based Rintala Eggertsson Architects, is part of the 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces exhibition which opened on June 15.

Nestled near the staircase leading to the museum’s National Art Library, the all-timber Ark is accessed via a spiral staircase. Visitors are welcome to browse through the books on the hundreds of shelves and sit in the reading chambers on each of the floors.

The timber structure was machined in the UK and built in two weeks by the architects and local builders.

As part of its to aim increase architects’ awareness of timber, on June 16 UPM hosted a visit to the museum followed by a reception with architect Sami Rintala, who was awarded the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2009, at the Finnish ambassador’s residence. The architects were also shown a CEI Bois video about timber’s role in tackling climate change.

“We are trying to increase the use of wood in construction so with projects like this architects can see it’s a versatile material and also its environment benefits,” said UPM head of communications Antti Ratia

V&A architecture curator Abraham Thomas told the group that the exhibition gave people the “rare experience of the full structure”.

“Most architecture exhibitions tend to be about drawings or photography so people feel disengaged from the building. The most important element – the building – is missing,” he said.

The exhibition’s seven designs, four of which feature timber, were chosen from 19 concept designs.

Architects Build Small Spaces is at the V&A until August 30.