The best prefab timber building is a hotel-conference center by Kodumaja in Norway

Prefab House of the Year annual contest held by Estonian Woodhouse Association and Cluster elected its best again. Victory went to a hotel building located in Norway, produced by Kodumaja. 20 prefab wooden buildings from Estonia, Norway, Sweden and Finland were nominated.

Objective of the contest is to promote wooden houses and special solution projects produced by Estonian companies and to also promote wood as a versatile construction material. The contest took place for 11th time. There were different buildings by size and usage among the contestants – big apartement buildings, cozy private houses, versatile small buildings and complex special solution projects. 

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt, photo: Kalev Lilleorg

Congratulations to the winners of Prefab House of the Year contest were given by the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt. „All contestants were remarkable, showing how architecture and modern wooden buildings blend in with surrounding environment. Future-oriented export article that has room for development also in Estonia,“ said the Minister.

Overall winner of the contest and the best public building – Kodumaja´s hotel building – is made up of two concrete floors and four timber construction floors. The hotel is located in the heart of the village – right by the train, bus and gondola station. The jury was impressed by representativeness and volume of the work and it also fit perfectly into context architecturally. What became decisive was that the building had many complex technical solutions (based on location and usage) – a lot of thought had gone into fire safety and acoustics. The fact that technical (modular) solution supported the architectural vision added value as well. The hotel is certainly a landmark that enriches the city.

building located in Norway, produced by Kodumaja
Overall winner of the contest and best public building. Photo: Clements Photography

„It is a privilege for Kodumaja to be acknowledged by professionals. We all do our best and believe in what we are doing but being noticed definitely adds strength and sense of security. But still, more important than victory is the fact that this contest takes place. I would say that all contestants are already winners because that is how we can together with our good colleagues show at our domestic market what a prefab house looks like. It is possible to build very different looking and volumous projects from wood,“ said Indrek Rehme, Kodumaja´s sales director.  

Indrek Rehme, Kodumaja. Photo: Kalev Lilleorg

Rehme added, that the winning project by its volume is the perfect example of advantages of factory production and modular building, which are mainly efficiency and time. „From the first digging to opening it took 17 months. According to the main contractor it would have taken a year longer with regular way of building.“ Kodumaja says that 3D engineering played a big role in the success of the project and coordination between different parties involved. „The project used one common model located in the cloud that different companies filled in. Also checks of matching were handled in that model. All in all, the project was first built in the model and physical work followed,“ added Rehme. „It would have been a lot more ineffective if mixing and matching had to be dealt with at the construction site.“

Winners of the Prefab House of The Year 2021. Photo: Kalev Lilleorg
  • Overall Winner and Best Public Building – Kodumaja AS hotel-conference center in Norway; also Rothoblaas special prize
  • Best Real Estate Development – Matek AS apartement building complex in Norway
  • Best Apartment Building – Arca Nova Element OÜ apartement buildings in Norway; also ISOVER special prize for Most Energy-Efficient Building;
  • Best Private House – Finnlog OÜ private house in Haapsalu; also Velux special prize „The best lighting solution“;
  • Best Small Construction – Akso-Haus OÜ skatepark service building in Nõmme
  • Best Special Solution – KMT Prefab OÜ medicine center facade elements in Norway

Additional special prizes:

  • Special Prize for Timber Use – Timbeco Woodhouse OÜ terraced houses in Sweden; also ITW’s Special Award ‘The best living environment for families’ and AkzoNobel special prize „Best colour solution“;
  • Special Prize for Perpetuating Traditional Construction – Vipson Projekt OÜ handcrafted log house in Võrumaa;
  • Delfi readers special prize – Nord Homes OÜ private house in Harku municipality;
  • Sponsor´s – ESSVE, BMI Monier and Kyocera Senco special prize – EstNor OÜ holiday house in Norway;

Jury members: Professor dr Targo Kalamees (TalTech), Director of Construction and Architecture Institute, dr Jarek Kurnitski (TalTech), architect Veronika Valk-Siska, architect Markus Kaasik, journalist Eva Kiisler and development counselor of Estonian Woodhouse Association Elar Vilt.  

The gala took place on June 18th, prizes to winners were presented by the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Andres Sutt.

The contest is supported by the full application project of the Estonian wooden house export cluster within the Estonian Wooden House Exporters Cluster Programme of Enterprise Estonia funded by the European Regional Development Fund.