Estonia looks to the past to shape its sustainable future, making use of tried-and-tested natural materials to build its pavilion


DUBAI,  – Estonia is proving that when its comes to creating a sustainable future, some solutions may lie in the past. Materials used for centuries can still help to shape the buildings of tomorrow.
For example, clay is a natural material used for thousands of years to build homes, and even fortresses and castles. It still works well today, is easy to maintain, antibacterial, fire-resistant, able to contain heat, and bonds using moisture. Clay has even been used in the construction of the Estonia Pavilion at Expo, most notably in the Taste of Estonia Café, where the dining space stretches along a clay wall that incorporates signature Expo patterns.
Andres Kask, Deputy Commissioner General of the Estonia Pavilion, believes that natural materials are important: “Nature is in our nature. We are very much in contact with nature. Our lifestyle is in harmony with our environment.”
The clay in the pavilion is the work of UKU – Pure Earth, one of the oldest natural building material companies in Scandinavia and the Baltic region, with roots dating back three generations, and just one of several firms involved in the construction. UKU – Pure Earth offers a range of natural building and finishing products, including clay and lime plasters, choosing not to incorporate non-natural binders or stabilisers.
As UKU – Pure Earth CEO Marko Kikas explains: “Concrete and cement production are energy-intensive – the production of clay plaster consumes just two per cent of the energy needed to produce the same amount of cement plaster. The energy consumption difference is even bigger between making raw clay brick and so-called ordinary brick. Scandinavian construction companies are already asking about the lifecycle assessment. I think the time will soon come when the ecological footprint will determine whether a building gets a permit or not.”


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