Estonian Academy of Arts, E.L.L. Kinnisvara and Merko Ehitus combine forces to advance urban planning in Estonia, and launch an extensive research project


The Faculty of Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts is launching the large-scale urban studies project UNFINISHED CITY in collaboration with the City of Tallinn with the kind support of E.L.L. Kinnisvara. Over the span of three years, E.L.L. Kinnisvara and Merko Ehitus will altogether contribute half a million euros to the collaboration project. This is an unprecedented private contribution for the Estonian Academy of Arts. In the 2016 autumn semester, EAA in collaboration with Merko Ehitus opened the professorship of energy efficiency at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning that is led by the Austrian architect Bernhard Sommer, a renowned expert in the field.

This year, the Faculty of Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts is launching a large-scale research project within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed with E.L.L. Kinnisvara and which focuses on urban development visions and future spatial scenarios for Tallinn. The research spans over six semesters and includes EAA lecturers, researches, doctoral students and outside experts; the City of Tallinn is one of the cooperation partners. In every semester, one subject field will be thoroughly analysed, with the results being introduced to the public.

Mart Kalm, Rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts, explains that the urban studies students and lecturers of the Faculty of Architecture have for years worked with settlement patterns, mapping contemporary ways of working and housing, and future-oriented planning in Estonia. ‘This work has examined the current situation of Tallinn along with various Estonian small towns and settlements in the regional and international competition as living and working environments as well as their potential for spatial development. This experience is a good base for starting a new research project targeted at Tallinn urban development.’

According to Toomas Tammiste, Dean of the EAA Faculty of Architecture, Merko’s contribution will bring the best contemporary knowledge of energy efficiency to Estonian architecture education.

‘In Estonia, there has been a widespread practice where elements of energy efficiency have been added to pre-designed houses – e.g., by using better materials – meaning that on our latitude an important topic such as energy efficiency has remained only a technical question for engineers. The professorship of energy efficiency brings expert knowledge in the early stages of designing a house straight to the architects’ work desk to take into account all possible parameters and variables that affect the energy efficiency of a building,’ explains Dean Tammis, according to whom a section of the programme will be open to all architecture students in Estonia.

‘As entrepreneurs, we try to contribute to the training of architects, this time in the field of energy efficiency. This is a demand of our times and it is more reasonable to spend a bit more on training the architects then on later reconstructions or bigger heating costs. The urban environment is increasingly changing, and with this research project in cooperation with EAA we wish to find the best practices, knowledge and recommendations for planning future settlements that planners and developers can take into account when performing their job,’ said Toomas Annus, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Merko Ehitus and E.L.L Kinnisvara.

The Faculty of Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts is the focal point of architecture education in Estonia and the most important centre of excellence in all disciplines that create artificial environments including interior architecture, architecture and urban planning.

E.L.L. Kinnisvara is one of the biggest real estate developers in the Baltic states, developing and managing commercial properties, hotels and office buildings. The company’s portfolio currently includes around 185,000 m2 of rental area.

AS Merko Ehitus is a group of Baltic construction companies that includes AS Merko Ehitus Eesti, the leading construction company in Estonia, SIA Merks on the Latvian market, UAB Merko Statyba operating on the Lithuanian market and the Norwegian construction company Peritus Entreprenør AS. The shares of Merko Ehitus have been listed on the NASDAQ Tallinn since 1997. The group employs approximately 800 people.