Estonian Environment House

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Kavakava arhitektid

The Largest Wooden Building in the Baltics

Based on the winning work of the Kavakava architects’ architectural competition, the What If team led the entire team involved in the preparation of the construction project from the sketch to the work project.


The building consists of three above-ground volumes connected by an underground floor for parking, auxiliary and storage rooms. The useful net area in the building is approx. 25,000 m2, the volume of outdoor areas is approx. 10,000 m2. The planned number of employees in the building is 600+.


The three above-ground building volumes are designed throughout in wooden structures. Each building experimentally tests different new construction types and spatial solutions of the modern working environment. The exposition area of the Estonian Museum of Natural History passes through all parts of the building on the lower level. The ground floor of the dock building is a local community accessible to the public with public access. The landscape architecture of the building connects Kalamaja Park and the seaside promenade.


The biggest challenge was to get a building permit from the Rescue Board for such a large wooden building, for which there were no previous references. An additional task was to functionally, in terms of room quality and safety, various functions such as the public museum and the premises of the employees of the Ministry of the Environment. We were looking for innovative energy-efficient solutions that would amplify such a building complex. In outdoor areas, we planned a comprehensive landscape solution consisting of four mini-parks in an area open to great public attention and open to sea winds.


“Kavakava arhitektid
PNL & IC Project Management
Estkonsult & Estkonsult keskkonnatehnika
PINK sisearhitektid
Kino maastikuarhitektid
EXTech Design
Kajaja Acoustics
eD insenerid & Teleprojekt
AKU Collective
Enara glass solutions
Metos, Medkoe, Külminaator, Datel, Laomaailm”

Related services

Lead Design

Construction cost management

Building surveys and audits

Building and operating permits

Technical briefs and procurement

Analysis of building and planning law