Nordecon wins contract to build Estonia's biggest public wooden building

The planned 'environmental house' (Keskkonnamaja).
The planned 'environmental house' (Keskkonnamaja). Source: Kavakava architects.

Construction company Nordecon will build Estonia's largest public wooden building the 'environmental house' for €54.4 million after winning the government's tender, it was announced on Monday.

The building will be built in Tallinn's Lennusadama neighborhood at Vesilennuki 12 and will total 24,660 square meters. The construction company has 2.5 years from the signing of the contract to complete the building. 

When completed, it will contain the Estonian Museum of Natural History – currently located in the Old Town, the Environmental Board, the Environmental Agency, the Center for Environmental Investment and several other related agencies.

Minister for Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) said the museum will have more space to display its exhibits and be able to offer a better overall visitor experience in the new building.

"We are grateful that the seeds planted by previous governments are growing," he said.

It also offers good opportunities for Estonia's timber industry, he said: "Today is a challenging time in construction and timber across the region – providing work and a strong example for Estonian champions in the growing market for climate-friendly construction."

The planned 'environmental house' (Keskkonnamaja). Source: Kavakava architects.

Michal said moving the agencies under one roof will allow the government to sell several buildings and save between €0.5-0.7 million a year

The government's real estate management agency Riigi Kinnisvara's acting director of real estate development Tarmo Mändmets said Nordecon's proposed work schedule, experience and plan won the "value-based procurement".

"Planned as an energy-efficient timber building, the 'environmental house' will help to reduce the environmental footprint of the construction sector and send out a message that such innovative timber buildings are possible in Estonia," Mändmets said.

Heidi Jõks, director of the Estonian Museum of Natural History, said: "Our aim is to become the most modern nature museum in the Nordic countries, with a quarter of a million visitors a year. That's five times more than we can take in now."

Annika Kadaja, CEO of the Estonian Wooden House Association, expressed her hope that 'environmental house' will become a landmark project that will help bring international attention to Estonian wooden architecture and technology. 

The public architectural competition was won by the architecture office Kavakava OÜ, architects Siiri Vallner, Indrek Peil, Kristel Niisuke and Ko Ai.


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Editor: Mari Peegel, Helen Wright

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