Healing and Green commercial building in Ülemiste – Tominga house
After all, office buildings are depressing! – agree, various research papers by medical
doctors highlight the negative impact of excessively dry air in our office buildings on the
health of modern people. At the same time, humidifying the air of the entire building is
an extremely energy and water intensive endeavour. In Estonia, this system is built in only
one commercial building, and even there irrigation is turned off to optimize costs. During
international architecture competition of Tominga House we proposed to have a seperate
room (area) – an interactive forest. This is a room (area) with a tropical climate, where the
humidity and temperature are brought to a very high level. Even a short stay in this room
(area) has significant impact on the health of users for the better. This humid space become
disguised as a palm garden enjoying daily newspaper to flip trough or chat with a friend
next to a cup of coffee. Not for too long – otherwise it will get hot.
Green in what sense?! It is, after all, built of concrete and not of wood! – true, various
technologies for low-carbon concrete are still in the development stage, while the material
can be sustainable even if it performs it’s function longer than usual. Therefore, three
completely different building functions were drawn in parallel - an office building, a hotel and
an apartment building. The load-bearing structure, elevators, stairs and building proportions
are set to meet all their requirements. In addition, one floor was abandoned, which made
it possible to make the remaining floors higher than usual ensuring the possibility to change
all technical systems during the life cycle of the building in accordance with the changed
circumstances. Concrete used in this building will withstand the test of time significantly
longer than usual.
Yes, rainwater is dispersed using lawn roofs.
Yes, in addition to district heating, the building also uses district cooling.
Yes, building architecture supports moving by using stairs instead of elevators and riding a
bike instead of cars.
Yes, this building produces some of it’s own energy.
Yes, the distribution of building volumes reduces the formation of a wind corridor at the
street level and creates a more pleasant climate around the house.
But, who is Alma Tomingas? – Alma was the first Estonian female professor to study medicinal
plants, drugs made from them and their chemical composition, developing the chemical
direction of pharmacognosy. In her honor, the landscape architectural solution surrounding
the building relies mainly on well-known medicinal plants. The amount of herbs and tea
plants sown around the building will probably be able to supply a large part of the Ülemiste
campus in a few years time.