Award winners: Woodhouse Estonia recognised the work of a ministry, an inspirational trailblazer in education, and film-makers

Woodhouse Estonia, a joint brand of forward-thinking Estonian wooden house manufacturers and partners, announced the winners of the industry awards for the 12th time. Andres Veel, a teacher at the Hiiumaa Vocational School, was awarded the title of ‘Person of the Year’, Ivo Jaanisoo, Deputy Secretary General for Living Environment and Circular Economy, was named ‘Friend of Wooden Houses’, and producer Ene-Maris Tali was awarded the title of ‘Influencer of Estonian Wooden Architecture’.

The Estonian Woodhouse Association and the Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster (Woodhouse Estonia) have a lovely tradition of celebrating individuals or organisations that have made a significant contribution to the development of the Estonian wooden houses sector by annually awarding the titles ‘Friend of Wooden Houses’, ‘Person of the Year’, and ‘Influencer of Estonian Wooden Architecture’. Andres Veel, lead teacher of log house building at Hiiumaa Vocational School, Ivo Jaanisoo, Deputy Secretary General for Living Environment and Circular Economy, and Ene-Maris Tali, producer of the programme Puit arhitektuuris (Wood in Architecture), were recognised this year for their remarkable work and activities supporting the sector.

The honorary title of ‘Person of the Year’ is given to individuals who have outstandingly represented the sector, launched or implemented complex projects, or significantly contributed to the development of the entire sector. The title of ‘Person of the Year 2022’ was awarded to Andres Veel, a teacher at the Hiiumaa Vocational School, for his many years of continuous promotion and popularisation of the field of log and timber construction. Andres Veel has also taken on a leading role as co-organiser of the vocational competition for log house builders. Thanks to his contribution, the log building competition has grown steadily and has also become international.

‘This award is an important and unexpected surprise for me, and it is undoubtedly dedicated to all those who have made their invaluable and selfless contribution to the advancement of Estonian wood construction over the years through the activities of Hiiumaa Vocational School. First and foremost, I would like to thank my alumni and current students, because you are the reason behind these efforts. Thanks to you, I have never regretted my modest contribution,’ said Andres Veel. ‘Just like everyone at the school, the Estonian Woodhouse Association is made up of people who have found common ground, work towards the same goal, and share the same interests and values. And, what is most important of all for achieving the best results: they are willing to contribute and do so together and in a meaningful way,’ says Veel, praising the contribution of his peers in the association.

Person of the Year 2022 – Andres Veel. Photo: Piret Jaani/Woodhouse Estonia

Other nominees were Renee Mikomägi (EstNor OÜ) and Alo Tamm (Harmet OÜ).

In addition to recognition within the sector, the title of ‘Friend of Wooden Houses’ also allows for the recognition of individuals or organisations outside the sector whose activities have had a positive impact on the field of wood construction. Ivo Jaanisoo, Deputy Secretary General for Living Environment and Circular Economy (Ministry of Climate) is a prime example of a top public servant whose consistent and substantive work has contributed not only to the development of the wooden house sector, but also to the transformation of the traditional construction sector. ‘Managing change is only possible in close cooperation with active and committed partners. I am inspired by the concerted entrepreneurial spirit in finding sustainable solutions that has been reinforced in recent years in the wooden house sector and in many other building sectors. This is essential for addressing major societal challenges,’ said Jaanisoo as he received the award. The wooden house sector appreciates the digital and green transition in the construction sector and Jaanisoo’s contribution in promoting a long-term vision in construction. In particular, the Ministry has played a major role in implementing the renovation strategy and piloting industrial renovation.

Friend of Wooden Houses 2022 – Ivo Jaanisoo. Photo: Piret Jaani/Woodhouse Estonia

Other nominees for the title of ‘Friend of Wooden Houses’ were the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV) and Hiiumaa Vocational School.

The third honorary title in the sector is ‘Influencer of Estonian Wooden Architecture’, which can be awarded to a person or organisation whose activities have had a significant impact on the advancement of Estonian wooden architecture. ETV’s Puit arhitektuuris (Wood in Architecture) series, helmed by producer Ene-Maris Tali, was chosen as the winner. The series, which was broadcast by Estonian Public Broadcasting, reached hundreds of thousands of viewers in Estonia and was also acclaimed at a Finnish festival.

Influencer of Estonian Wooden Architecture – Ene-Maris Tali. Photo: Piret Jaani/Woodhouse Estonia

Architect Tiit Sild and the Timber Architecture Research Center PAKK of the Estonian Academy of Arts were also nominated.

Members of Woodhouse Estonia draw up the list of candidates for awarding the honorary titles. The laureates are determined by a vote among the members and a joint discussion.

The winners were announced on 25 August at the Friends of Wooden Houses Summer Conference.

Previous ‘Person of the Year’ title winners:

  • 2021 Martin Talts (KMT Prefab OÜ)
  • 2020 Tarmo Tamm (Peetri Puit OÜ)
  • 2019 Siim Leisalu (Timbeco Woodhouse OÜ)
  • 2018 Argo Saul (Nordic Houses KT OÜ)
  • 2017 Toomas Kalev (Harmet OÜ)
  • 2016 Raiko Gustavson (Pärnu Log Homes OÜ)
  • 2015 Andrus Prangli (Hobbiton Home OÜ)
  • 2014 Mihkel Urmet (TEMPT OÜ)
  • 2013 Sven Mats (Matek AS)
  • 2012 Ragner Lõbu (Hobbiton Home OÜ)
  • 2011 Argo Saul (Nordic Houses KT OÜ)

Previous ‘Friend of Wooden Houses’ title winners:

  • 2020 – Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and KredEx – for the development and launch of the pilot project of the support measure for the factory reconstruction of apartment buildings
  • 2019 – President Kersti Kaljulaid – for dealing with environmental and climate issues
  • 2018 – Targo Kalamees (TalTech) – preparation of qualified workforce for the wooden house sector, development of research and development cooperation, and organisation of the international wood engineering conference Forum Wood Building Baltic 2019
  • 2017 – Enterprise Estonia – supporting export activities of the sector
  • 2016 – emeritus professor Karl Õiger (TalTech) – long-term contribution to the promotion of engineering education in the field of construction
  • 2015 – Ülenurme rural municipality – the local municipality that builds the most wooden buildings
  • 2014 – Rescue Board – dealing with the topic of fire safety of wooden houses
  • 2013 – Estonian Open Air Museum – preserving the traditions of wooden construction
  • 2012 – the Kingdom of Norway – the main target market of the Estonian wooden house sector for ten years now
  • 2011 – Reet Truuts – Senior Adviser on foreign trade at Enterprise Estonia
  • 2010 – Märt Riistop – leader of the information programme Puuinfo

Previous ‘Influencer of Estonian Wooden Architecture’ title winners:

  • 2021 – TEMPT arhitektid – for their contribution to the advancement of Estonian wooden architecture and its popularisation;
  • 2020 – Erik Konze in cooperation with the Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association – for organising the wooden architecture conference ‘Wood – the key to the living environment of the future’.

Woodhouse Estonia is a brand that unites the umbrella organisations of the sector – the Estonian Woodhouse Association and the Estonian Wooden Houses Cluster – which was created to share the success stories of Estonian wooden houses. We aim to inspire more people to discover the benefits of wood as a construction material and provide connections to manufacturers and other partners. The main objective of Woodhouse Estonia is to improve the international competitiveness and export capacity of its members through various supporting joint activities. Woodhouse Estonia currently has 70 companies or organisations as members.