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.
The trio of landscape architects in Tartu represent the new obstinate generation who believe in nature’s power of self-organisation and assure that their cooperation will persist until Estonia is entirely covered with a high-quality public thicket.
Toomas Paaver admits that solving some problems of spatial planning may indeed seem impossible, however, the self-same impossibility has always intrigued him. His way of thinking is marked by spatial structuredness and ability to find causality in complex connections providing his perception and argumentation with a particular grasp. Would it be possible to work with such a versatile topic as a functioning common space in any other way?
Siiri Vallner is an industrious architect, who is sensitive and attentive towards the environment, while at the same time, her projects are rational and conceptual. Interviewed by Jarmo Kauge.