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Issue #21

A NEW BUILDING LOCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE RESEARCH

Green building

Located in Estonia, the Rakvere Smart House Competence Centre is an experimental concept, designed to house a research facility for intelligent building technologies. The objective was to create a physical ‘body’ where different technical solutions for future constructions can be developed and tested.
Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House front view brick facade
© Henry Vürst
Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House Rakvere brick facade detail view
© Henry Vürst
Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House front view brick facade
© Henry Vürst
Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House front view brick facade
© Henry Vürst

A NEW BUILDING LOCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE RESEARCH

Green building

Located in Estonia, the Rakvere Smart House Competence Centre is an experimental concept, designed to house a research facility for intelligent building technologies. The objective was to create a physical ‘body’ where different technical solutions for future constructions can be developed and tested.

With partners from several universities in Estonia, in addition to regional vocational schools, companies and local authorities, the competence centre endeavours to contribute by becoming a central hub of the building industry in order to support regional development and innovation. The fields of research include new technologies for home and office equipment, as well as automated building systems and building management. In addition to being a local expertise hub, the competence centre also actively participates in various European sustainable energy initiatives and advocates energy efficiency through innovative and smart buildings.

 

Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House front view brick facade
© Henry Vürst
Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House detail view brick facade
© Henry Vürst

SUPPORTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Contributing to its sustainable and innovative purpose, the competence centre was designed as the first public near-zero energy building in Estonia that utilizes different building automation technologies, and it has been engineered from the start using the BIM methodology. A variety of sustainable energy sources, such as solar panels and geothermal heating pumps, are used to heat the building. A unique demonstration and testing environment is set up inside the centre, which allows researchers to have the perfect space for academic work. Within the urban construction context, the house is an extension of an existing building.

The plot also includes the heritage-protected building of the Bank of Estonia, which still appears as the visually dominant building by the central square. The new building peers out from behind, creating an aesthetic contrast to the old one. The earthen-coloured bricks of the façade help to create a connection. They are used to create a unique pattern, while at the same time not straying too far from the style of the old building, which was constructed using clay blocks. Both buildings are united through the ceramic materials and the time-resistant structure.

Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House Rakvere front view
© Oliver Alver

BUILT-IN SUSTAINABILITY

In addition to the new sustainable features such as solar heating and water re-usage, the facility was designed while keeping traditional sustainable building methods in mind. This is reflected in the choice of building materials. Apart making the façade attractive, brick has excellent heat storage capacity, and it helps to keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer. Tark Maja serves as an example of how to combine natural building materials with the latest technology.

Wienerberger Tark Maja Smart House Rakvere front view
© Henry Vürst
Facts & Figures
  • Project name
    Tark Maja (“Smart House”), Rakvere, Estonia
  • Architect
    Alver Arhitektid
  • Client
    SA Virumaa Kompetentsikeskus
  • Used products

    Terca Westminster

  • Year of completion
    2015
Terca Westminster Wienerberger grey brick facade

Façade

Terca Westminster – Germany