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The Faculty of Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts to continue with the professorship for digital tools with the support of Merko Ehitus


The Faculty of Architecture of the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) has been co-operating closely with Merko Ehitus since 2016. In the autumn of 2016, with the support of Merko Ehitus, a professorship for energy efficiency that is unique in Estonia was opened and, this academic year, a digital tools studio that focuses on the designing of a large-scale energy-efficient building was opened.

The Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of EKA, Andres Ojari, says that the specialised studio instructed by Professor Bernhard Sommer and Assistant Professor Galo Moncayo focuses on the utilisation of digital tools in the design process of buildings, thereby viewing the different components of the building as closely interconnected and, where necessary, adaptable details – whether it be the construction of the building or the “skin” surrounding it, the design solutions that directly affect the energy efficiency or the geometry of the building. The starting point is the geolocation and landscape of the building. The climatic conditions are analysed, including the effects associated with the natural light and the changing of the seasons on the modelling of the room and the functional usage of the room.

“The studio focuses on the generation of a data-driven room. One learns to monitor the complete life-cycle of a building, which includes the sustainable usage of the materials that surround us, the manufacturing of materials, and the construction and usage of a building. The studio examines how such a strategic approach affects the activities of an architect and his or her design-based decisions. These topics were discussed by the academics and external critics during the evaluation of the 3rd course student projects that were submitted within the framework of the Venetian Architectural Biennial. This whole world that is associated with the topic of parametric design is also supported by the activities and the ambitions of the digital construction cluster, of which we are currently a member,” explained Ojari.

“The usage of digital tools in architecture, design and construction is becoming increasingly more important. We at Merko develop this field constantly within our group, as a member of the digital construction cluster, as well as in close co-operation with our customers and partners. The co-operation with EKA helps to engage additional international experiences, and to contribute to the training of the students and the development of the field as a whole,” said Tõnu Toomik, a member of the management board of Merko Ehitus.

During the autumn semester, more focus is put on workshops where, in addition to Bernhard Sommer and Galo Moncayo, the students are being instructed by the junior researchers and doctoral students of the department Sille Pihlak and Siim Tuksam, whose experimental studio teaches students to know and use the digital tools that will become fundamental in the next coming years in Estonia. They are joined by the director of the recently opened VR laboratory of EKA Johanna Jõekalda. The main studio starts in the spring semester. The teaching activities will also include Viennese engineer Adam Orlinski, who focuses on the utilisation of parametric tools in the designing of buildings and who in co-operation with the engineering bureau Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure has developed the engineering program Karamba 3D, which will also be introduced in detail to the students and the sector as a whole.