There is no way to describe the current state of Latvian architecture without at least mentioning the so-called “large cultural buildings”. During the last decade, these have been the words constantly repeated by ministers, city mayors, directors of cultural institutions, and the media.
Space Popular is a multidisciplinary design and research practice led by Lara Lesmes & Fredrik Hellberg. They make physical spaces — buildings, interiors, furnishings — and virtual spaces, concentrating on how the two will be fused in the future. Their augmented virtual reality project “The Venn Room” was on display at the Tallinn Architecture Biennial main exhibition.
Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB) „Beauty Matters: The Resurgence of Beauty“, 11.09–15.09 2019.
Although architecture may help to solve (and it does solve) problems, we should not regard it as a primary tool for solving social etc. problems but as a creator of values, novelty and wellbeing. In the 20th century, the creative part of architecture that can also deal with the question of human condition has been undeservedly overshadowed by pragmatics.
The foundation of the Kreis family is the first foundation by a local family to support architecture that was established by Heljo Kreis in 2012 to commemorate her late sons, architects Hanno and Erki Kreis. The aim of the foundation award is to acknowledge noteworthy phenomena, alternative practises and versatile creators who have remained on the margin of the mainstream Estonian architecture. The council of the foundation include Kristel Ausing, Mart Kalm, Pille Kitsing, Ülo Peil, Andres Siim and Emil Urbel. Below, Emil Urbel, Mart Kalm and Kristel Ausing will provide more details about the foundation activities and the award winners.
Villem Tomiste is like a figure from the beginning of 20th century Young Estonia movement – genuinely European, deeply urban, and as such, slightly suspicious for the local conservative community. Unlike many architects who preach social benefits, he actually lives by what he promotes in his civic visions – urbanistically to the core, commuting on foot and by tram, avoiding over-consumption, and with a refined aesthetic sensibility. Contemporary spatial culture is, for him, a field of opportunities: extending from urban planning and landscaping projects to dialogues with contemporary music, the visual arts and various exhibition practices.
The architecture offices born at the time of economic downturn are inevitably much less inclined to undertake bold experiments than the ones whose beginnings are rooted in more auspicious times. Instead, what becomes crucial then is an ability to make the most out of the limited resources in a nuance-sensitive way. Thus, KUU architects are, in a sense, minimalists, yet they do not seek minimal form, but look for opportunities to efficiently utilise the existing contexts in order to create spaces that empower its users.
Spectrum thinking has freed him from the constraints of the black-and-white view of the world: drifting in semitones allows him to choose only the topics that fire him up. Everything you start with must be finished, the process is facilitated by the main tool of concentration that to outsiders seems deceivingly chaotic.
It seems that in architecture, the only way to ensure high quality is to rely on commitment, consideration and precision. Tomomi Hayashi and Hanno Grossschmidt do their work in a composed manner with professionalism and commitment. And their architecture speaks for them.
For Veronika Valk-Siska, architecture neither begins nor ends with a design or a building. Her career in architecture until now can be read as a reflection of an increasingly expansive understanding of what architecture could be.
Andres Sevtsuk is a Professor of Urban Science and Planning at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, where he also leads the City Form Lab. Maroš Krivý is a professor of Urban Studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts.They shared their insights on current state and challenges of Estonian architecture.
A Hundred Issues of Critical Discussion on Architecture: a Round Table Discussion With Editors-In-Chief of MAJA
Since 1994, the architectural review MAJA has been the key platform for promoting and reflecting on Estonian architecture. On the occasion of the 100th issue, all former editors-in-chief – Leele Välja, Piret Lindpere, Triin Ojari, Katrin Koov and Kaja Pae – came together to discuss their working principles and the changes the journal has undergone in the past twenty-five years. Interviewed by Andres Kurg.
The reconstruction of buildings under heritage protection and providing them with new content is one way to make a small borough known and alive again.
What can barn-dwelling architecture teach us today?
A story of ruptures and their appropriation.
The question is concerned with the unknown and how to give sense to it. As in the end, every unfamiliarity may be given a familiar, perceivable context. However, let us talk about the feeling of unfamiliarity. Could it be something more, something more genuine or even more delicate than the most obvious, for instance, an abandoned building?
Known for its openness to change, Mäetaguse borough has successfully combined its central area comprising buildings of various eras and the great outdoor space into an effective and comprehensive environment.
Gothenburg’s Jubileumsparken is being designed with an open mind and all changes are welcomed with open arms: it is still unclear what kind of spatial disruptions will be implemented and where these manipulations will come into play. This depends on the parties involved and their reactions to the process.
The minimalist grandeur and archetypal imagery of the memorial engage the viewer up to a point of awe.
Every act of redesign, renaming or shift, especially in downtown, always bears reference to choices and decisions with a broader ideological background.
The order of nature is complex, interesting and beautiful. However, mankind’s understanding of order and beauty tends to be somewhat primitive and thus we are increasingly losing the sense of balance that could direct our activities. Green areas are meant for public use, but in reality they have become neatly mowed lawns that people never walk on and that we have consequently made unsuitable for other living organisms.
How to design public spaces to make us enjoy our daily movement?
In addition to bringing together various public functions, the former Kulla confirmation house reconstructed as a library and rural municipality office also functions as a gate to the local community.
Careful homework on selecting the location for Suure-Jaani health centre, the wise decisions made by the local government as well as drawing together a number of public functions have provided the means for the emergence of very good architecture and the future town centre of Suure-Jaani.
Love is emanating from this building. The new building of the art academy on the edge of Kalamaja in Tallinn has architecture which is carefully thought through and gives a positive boost to the future of Estonia’s principal institution providing higher art education.
The centre dedicated to the composer Arvo Pärt is loaded with many different expectations which set very high standards for the architecture. A successful architectural space not only provides a particular set of facilities, but also functions as an abstract machine, a means to contemplate our place in grander schemes of things.
Strict special conditions set by the National Heritage Board have ensured excellent renovation results but not the thunderbolt contemporary solution on a par with the original.
The renovation of 44 Queen’s Gate Terrace was completed more than a year ago, after which the embassy’s doors were also opened to visitors, whose numbers have risen impressively. A fair testament to high public interest in the building is the fact that on the city’s annual embassy open-doors day, the Estonian Embassy was so popular that the amount of people wishing to tour it exceeded the limited time frame allowed.
Several competition entries captured quintessential characteristics of Tartu. How to plan future competitions so that these characteristics could be more systemically written into competition briefs and implemented in 21st century projects?
“Great Public Spaces” competitions have an unprecedented historical value – the improvement of the quality of the spaces between the buildings has never been approached so systematically. The first of the fifteen squares are completed and ready for use. How did the innovations suggested in the winning entries transform into projects and from paper to space?
There are tumultuous times in the seafront development in Tallinn with variously motivated changes. This is the moment when architectural institutions must perceive their sense of responsibility and contribute to the big picture with their expert knowledge.
During a two-week stay in MAAJAAM, an artist residency in Neeruti village near Otepää, Belgian architect Edith Wouters reflected on what a desired future for villages in the countryside could be.
The top-level conference held at the Estonian Academy of Arts during the Tallinn Architecture Biennale dealt with the effect of digitality on architecture, production processes and society.
The objective of the subjective preference theory founded by the Japanese acoustician Yoichi Ando is to examine the emergence of a satisfying aural experience in a space that supports learning and creative processes.
Exhibition and spatial installation in the main hall of the Museum of Estonian Architecture 27.01.-25.03.2018.