From Excavation to Elevation

From Excavation to Elevation
"From Excavation to Elevation" by
From Excavation to Elevation is an ongoing research and concept development seeking how to valorize excavated and disregarded earth of building sites.
Tallinn, Estonia
About is a research-led design and build studio that is investigating how to turn building waste into different earth-based building materials.
Team members
Kaarel Kuusk
Maria Helena Luiga
Henri Papson
Hannes Praks
Sven Samyn
Andrea Tamm
Malvo Tominga
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Ecology, Research, Other
Project category
Material tracking and reuse
Project submitted

Studio was founded in 2021 by a group of designers, architects and builders, recent students and professors of Estonian Academy of Arts. focuses on promoting and researching ecological building solutions and is currently working on NGO basis. Studio has worked on public exhibitions looking at uses of ecological materials and technologies with the main interest of site-specific earth-based building solutions.

Besides studio team members of currently also work and study in various companies and universities related to architecture and construction.
Andrea Tamm - founder and designer of + sustainable architecture strategist at the Estonian Center for Architecture, member of Estonian Association of Interior Architects
Maria Helena Luiga - founder and designer of + currently studying in The Royal Danish Academy (MArch)
Hannes Praks - founder and designer of + head of Estonian Architecture Centre, member of Estonian Architects Association
Henri Papson - founder and designer of + graphic designer
Sven Samyn - designer at + currently studying in Estonian Academy of Arts, interior architecture department
Malvo Tominga - building specialist of, alumnus of the Viljandi University of Culture Academy, National Construction (MA), founder of Wanawiisi Ehitus OÜ founder
Kaarel Kuusk - designer, builder of, alumnus of the post-master's program Base Habitat at the University of Linz

2023 “Restaurant 0” longlisted in Mies Awards 2023 and Dezeen Awards 2022 in category of sustainable interior
2022 “Restaurant 0” Annual Award laureate of Interior Architecture 2021
at the annual Estonian Architectural Awards gala
2022 Architectural Association of Ireland Award for the exhibition “Woodworks” curated by Alder Architects and B210 Architects

Carbon emissions from the manufacturing of building materials account for 13% of the global CO2 footprint. By seeking out local and circular material solutions, the footprint of material production can be reduced.The project “From Excavation to Elevation” focuses on the repurposing of residual soil excavated during building foundation works into circular construction material. The use of residual material, which often contains a high concentration of clay is not only one of the possible solutions towards a more sustainable construction sector, but also allows the building's footprint to be reduced while significantly improving the indoor climate of the interior.
In June 2023, opened an exhibition that was the first milestone of design and research project named "From Excavation to Elevation". The exhibition explored valorization of clay and soil into construction and finishing materials from the excavation site of a residential development on Sõpruse Boulevard in Tallinn. The displayed materials included rammed earth, raw brick, stabilized brick, plaster, mortar, and clay paint. The prototype series of construction and finishing materials was named "Mustamäe Grey" after the location of excavation From clay-based soil, by combining different materials, one can make, for example, load-bearing exterior walls, interior walls, partitions, wall fillers, and interior finishing materials like (acoustic) plaster and paint. The concept of valorizing excavation waste is based on the principle that the clay-based soil extracted from the excavation pit of a building's foundation is a local construction material that can be extensively used in the building under construction. The positive aspects of local material production include site-specific material use, which significantly reduces the transportation and processing footprint, replacing new factory-produced materials, and a better indoor climate due to the thermal, porous, and hygroscopic properties of clay.

Studio was founded in 2021 by a group of designers, architects and builders, recent students and professors of Estonian Academy of Arts. focuses …

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