• The new Tallinn courthouse will get the cornerstone

    2017-06-08

    On Friday the cornerstone of the new Tallinn courthouse located on Lubja street, will be laid. The building will be completed by the spring of 2018.

    Äripäev
    Ehitusuudised
    ehitusuudised.ee/tallinna-uus-kohtumaja

    Photos: The cornerstone of the new Tallinn courthouse was laid
    Today the cornerstone of the new Tallinn courthouse located on Lubja street was laid. The building will be completed by the spring of 2018.
    http://tallinncity.postimees.ee/4141661/fotod-uus-tallinna-kohtumaja-sai-nurgakivi

    The Tallinn courthouse got its cornerstone
    A ceremony was held today for placing the cornerstone of the Tallinn courthouse, currently Under construction on Lubja St.
    http://www.err.ee/601170/tallinna-kohtumaja-sai-nurgakivi

  • Estonian national museum review – touching and revealing

    2017-01-02

    Situated on a former Soviet airfield and created by a multinational team in the middle of nowhere, Estonia’s national museum is an unlikely success
    The Estonian national museum in Tartu.
    ‘A contrasting combination of national and international, folkloric and modern, charged and cool’: The Estonian national museum in Tartu. Photograph: Takuji Shimmura

    It is unusual to put a museum at the end of a runway, still more if it also straddles a chain of ornamental lakes, but then the Estonian National Museum is not a usual sort of institution. Its past is wrapped up with that of the country itself. Now it somehow has to represent the complex and precarious history of Estonia, in a fraught present, with a combination of pride and sensitivity.

    For a European country to build a national museum at this moment, when nationalism is taking new and unpredictable forms, is perilous. If Russia were to invent such a thing now, it would look like another form of aggressive aggrandisement; if Britain, an episode of querulous post-Brexit blue-passport patriotism; if Germany, it would raise issues too agonising for a single museum to handle. Estonia, a country of 1.3 million, whose two periods of independence – between the wars and since 1991 – add up to less than 50 years, and which still has grounds to be nervous of its neighbour Russia, has reason to define and assert itself with a museum, but it also has to tread cautiously.

    The idea of a national museum has been linked to the idea of Estonian independence for more than a century, ever since a group of nationalist-minded intellectuals decided to create such a thing. Since then the fluctuating fortunes of independence, war and occupation have caused the collections to be housed in different places, to be dispersed and reassembled. Under postwar Soviet occupation the contents and concept of the museum were threatened. In the late 80s the call to reinstate the museum was part of a new campaign for freedom. The new €70m building is the fulfilment of this desire, after many years of debate and interruptions since Estonia won back independence in 1991.

    Its location, according to the usual logic of maximising visitor numbers, is near-suicidal. It is not in the capital Tallinn but 190km away in the second city, Tartu (population 100,000), and not precisely there either but a 2km journey through sometimes brutal weather from the centre. But what the site lacks in accessibility it makes up for in significance: it includes the remains of a manor house, wrecked in 1944, in which the collections were housed between the wars. It also includes an airstrip, with associated earthworks for protecting warplanes, used by the Soviet military. With the aircraft roaring over the ancient university town of Tartu, it was a symbol of the hatefulness of occupation.

    The design of the building is the result of a competition held in 2005 and won by a multinational trio of young architects, the Italian-Israeli Dan Dorell, the Lebanese Lina Ghotmeh and the Japanese Tsuyoshi Tane, who were working in the London offices of David Adjaye and Norman Foster and sacrificing sleep and leisure to work on their entry in their spare time. Entrants could choose a site somewhere in the grounds of the old manor house. DGT (as the three called themselves once they became an architectural practice) selected a location at the end of the old runway. For the architects it was important not to erase the past – that as Dorell says, the museum could be “mature enough to get over the trauma”.

    An aerial view of the museum’s site.
    An aerial view of the museum’s site. Photograph: Tiit Sild

     

    The building, 355m long, projects the straight lines of the runway back towards the city. Its glass sides, imprinted with a white pattern, are designed to reflect surrounding trees and snow. Its roof gradually slopes upwards until it forms a grand portico at the main entrance. At one point the building bridges a lake, one of a sequence that originated in the manor house’s landscape garden. Courtyards puncture the block, introducing fragments of nature. The interior is spacious and airy, with views to the outside seen through layers of glass.

    It was a controversial choice, to draw attention to the most negative part of the site’s history. There were also strong lobbies for placing the museum somewhere else entirely, in the centre of Tartu or in Tallinn. The European Union, not liking the remote location, refused to contribute to its cost. There were objections to the appointment of foreign architects for this national emblem. The 2008 crash slowed things down.

    For all these reasons it took more than a decade for the designs to be realised, during which time DGT set up their office and based themselves in Paris, all the time battling to realise what would be a spectacular first project for any practice, working unpaid when necessary – “we were ready for anything to make this happen”. They credit the “miracle” of its realisation to its former director Krista Aru – “to the strength of that woman” – and to “our belief”.

    The outcome is a contrasting combination of national and international, folkloric and modern, charged and cool. The building is glassy, geometric, hard-surfaced, straight-lined. The contents tend to be handmade, everyday, sometimes rough-hewn, often in the country’s most abundant material, which is wood. The aim of the museum is not to record grand historical events so much as the lives that ordinary people lived through them. Nor is it just about exhibits – music and drama are held there, such that the museum becomes in effect a very large village hall.

    The origins of the collection are in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when 1,400 volunteers toured the towns and villages of the not-yet-recognised country to gather texts and artefacts of popular folklore. To these have been added mementoes of lives since then, through the turbulence of the 20th century. There are for example the charms, pagan in origin, that peasants used to bring luck to their fields centuries after the country was supposedly Christianised. There are 2,600 ornamental wooden beer tankards, large and individually personalised. There are medals won by pilots, an art deco radio, rusted military material from the airfield, early photographs of cautiously squinting country people.

    Struggles against foreign rule – the country has at different times been run by Swedes, Germans and Russians – are there, but mostly discreetly. There is a video of the Baltic Way of 1989, in which 2 million people joined hands across the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. There is a bookcase that reconstructs the way in which, under the Soviets, cohesion came from oppression: restricted in many ways, Estonians turned to discussions of literature, in turn limited by the small range of titles available, which were mostly translations of classics such as Dickens. There is a lawnmower from a time when it was impossible to buy such a machine, a little monument of persistence and ingenuity, handmade out of a pushchair, a washing machine motor and a bucket.

    The entrance is at the highest point of the building, which is wedge-shaped.
    The entrance is at the highest point of the building, which is wedge-shaped. Photograph: Takuji Shimmura

     

    The patriotism is a little more overt in a reverential room in which the first Estonian flag, made by students in the late 19th century and banned in Soviet times, is displayed. There are also large basement galleries dedicated to the peoples deep in Russia who speak languages in the same Finno-Ugric group as Estonian, a partly conjectural display of festivals and reconstructed cabins. This is tricky stuff, not least for the large Russian minority within Estonia, but it is mostly negotiated with tact.

    The museum could be both triumphalist and sentimental, but it is neither. At their best the displays are touching and revealing rather than heroic. The architecture plays its part by combining the drama of its setting and a striking overall form with a deadpan delivery. Views are offered of the ruin and of the landscape, downward to water and upward to sky, and long perspectives to the runway, but without exclamation marks. The temptation to invent a style somehow Baltic-looking has been avoided.

    If these are good instincts they also mean that the building, contents and setting will take some getting used to each other. It is a long way from the contemporary sharpness of the glass to a wooden beer tankard, a distance that the designers of the exhibition installations have tried too hard and intrusively to close. The surrounding landscape, much of which had to be dug up to remove contamination left by the airbase, is still raw.

    The museum is a project unlikely as the lawnmower, or indeed Estonia itself, which relies on passion for the theme to override disadvantages of location. So far it seems to be working, with about 60,000 visitors in each of its first two months. It is also a work in progress, not least because the museum is still inviting Estonians to contribute their personal objects. This is as it should be, as identity is something that never stands still.

    Rowan Moore

    The Guardian

    The Observer / Architecture

    Read the original article here

  • Ülemiste Shopping Centre won first place at an international competition

    2016-04-28

    On the 19th of April, the winners of the competition for the best European Shopping Centres were announced. Ülemiste won first place and even preceded Maltepe Park in Istanbul.

    Ülemiste won first place in the “best extension” category and according to the CEO of the shopping centre, this victory is not only a recognition for Ülemiste, but for Estonia in general. “The opportunity to compete at this level and forego Turkey who is a leader in Europe for the capacity of shopping centre investments, is a very big deal! It shows that Estonian shopping centres are among the best in Europe. A lot of work has been done and our efforts have been acknowledged, ” added Pärnits.

    Before determining the winner, the international panel of judges visited all the shopping centres who made it into the final. In addition to interior and outward design, they also evaluated the overall management of the centre, customer service, economic results before and after the extension and its role in the society. “The judges were very thorough and got acquainted with our centre very well. The decision was made by the best professionals in their field, who have a vast experience with a lot of other shopping centres in Europe.”

    Twelve shopping centres made it into the final of European Shopping Centre Awards. Competition was held in three separate categories: shopping centre extensions, new developments and formerly built shopping centres. The biggest competition for Ülemiste Shopping Centre was Maltepe Park in Istanbul, which has 75 000 m2 of space and 250 shops. The winners were announced at a yearly ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) congress in Milano.

    The new and improved Ülemiste Shopping Centre was completed in 2014. After the renovation, the shopping centre became the biggest fashion and family centre in Estonia with 60 000 m2 of space. A lot of emphasis has been put on the selection of goods and food as well as interior design and creating a pleasant atmosphere. The owner and developer of Ülemiste Shopping Centre is Norwegian company Linstow AS.

    Facts about ICSC and the competition:

    • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) was founded in 1957.
    • It has over 60 000 members from 90 different countries. The members include shopping centre owners, developers and investors.
    • The European Shopping Centre Awards competition has been held since 1975.
    • Every year it awards remarkable and improved shopping centres
    • Competition has three separate categories: shopping centre extensions, new developments and formerly built shopping centres.
    • European Shopping Centre Awards is the most prestigious and important shopping centre competition in Europe.

    Eleen Laasner
    Reporter
    Postimees Tarbija

  • CAVE – the “new” field of BIM technology

    2016-04-08

    CAVE – "det nye" innen BIM-teknologi from NITO Refleks on Vimeo.

    Aurora Hannisdal
    NITO Reflex

  • The new ERM building won first place in a prestigious architectural competition

    2016-03-30

    The architects responsible for the new building of the Estonian National Museum (Eesti Rahva Muuseum) won the main prize in a prestigious AFEX architectural competition by gaining unanimous approval from the judges. 

    AFEX is an organization that supports architects who work outside of France and they have held an architectural competition to acknowledge the best in their fields since 2010.

    The organization evaluates all buildings that have been completed in cooperation with French architects. The competition is held every two years.

    The judges chose ten of the most remarkable buildings and the winner was picked by a solid vote. The prize went to DGT (Dorell, Ghotmeh, Tane Architects) Architectural Bureau for designing the new building for the Estonian National Museum. In addition, it should be noted that the head designer for this project was Architectural and Engineering bureau Novarc, who also completed all of the necessary engineering parts.

    Critics say that the museum stands out on a local as well as international level, has a strong personality and surprises the viewers with its unique architectural solution.

    The prize will be handed over on the 26th of May at the Venice biennial.

    Kaspar Koort
    Tartu Postimees

    tartu.postimees.ee

  • Estonia will start developing e-construction

    2016-03-29

    Estonian construction entrepreneurs and representatives of the country have gathered into a digital construction cluster in order to start developing e-construction. In the next three years, 600 000 euros will be invested in this field.

    Merylin Rüütli, who is one of the initiators of the cluster and the Head of the Architectural and Engineering bureau Projekt Kuubis, says that Estonian construction sector has fallen behind due to lack of e-solutions.

    “The development of e-construction is at the same place where our health care system was ten years ago. However, Estonia as a leading e-country has very good opportunities to become a world pioneer in this field,” added Rüütli.

    According to her, the construction market in Estonia is opaque and a lot of resources have been spent unnecessarily. What is more, a lot of Estonian construction companies are not using the export potential due to ineffectiveness.

    Andrus Väärtnõu, The Head of Construction and Housing Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, says that it is noteworthy that people who are interested in developing the field of construction have joined forces and gathered together into a cluster.

    “The field of construction in Estonia definitely has room for development and one possibility to advance the field is to start digitalising it. The construction sector in Estonia forms 7% of the GDP. It is an important branch of economy and further development would be faster if the processes became more effective,” said Väärtnõu.

    Jüri Rass, The Chairman of the Board for the Architectural and Engineering bureau Novarc, says that creating e-construction systems would help solve various daily problems connected to the field of construction.

    “It is very common in Estonia that construction costs are unpredictable and can vary from 10 to 20 percent during a project. This is a clear sign of weakness in the field. I am more than convinced that digitalising can help make the expenses more transparent and predictable, as shown by the example of the Scandinavian countries.” said Rass. In addition, he added that if the data is made available, it would help prevent various mistakes that occur during the construction process.

    The aim of the e-construction project is to find best ways to digitalise the field of Estonian construction. E-solutions would create equal opportunities for all companies in the market, transform the construction processes to be transparent and common as well as reduce the cost for monetary, human and material resources.

    The cluster for e-construction is a team of companies and country representatives that have united to start digitalising the field of construction. E-construction has been funded by Estonian construction companies as well as the European Regional Development Fund from Enterprise Estonia.

    Marek Kuul
    Editor of err.ee

    uudised.err.ee

  • EPL: First design then ignore

    2015-03-18

    Margit Mutso
    A so-called superministry building will be erected in Tallinn, Suur-Ameerika St. The process ignores the results of the architectural competition and focuses only on on price factor.

    For more read: Õhtuleht in Estonian

  • Õhtuleht: The contractor of the superministry building is allowed to bypass copyright?

    2015-03-13

    Juhan Haravee
    AS Riigi Kinnisvara has selected the contractor for the construction of the unprecedented superministry building. The contractor will be free to choose between realisation of the …

    For more read: Õhtuleht in Estonian

  • Ehitusuudised: Tondiraba Ice Arena won the competition for the best concrete building of the year

    2015-03-12

    Today the Estonian Concrete Association announced the winners of the best concrete building of the year

    Client’s prize – Tallinna Spordi- ja Noorsooamet;
    Structural engineer – Civen OÜ, Novarc Group AS;
    construction and concrete works – Merko Ehitus Eesti AS;
    concrete works – E-Betoonelement AS, Rudus AS, HC Betoon AS;
    formwork – Peri AS.

    Read Ehitusuudised portal and see pictures of award ceremony.

  • Reporter: The construction of the new superministry building creates conflicts

    2015-03-10

    The construction of the new superministeries building housing four ministries, due in 2017, designed by Novarc has created a conflict between Riigi Kinnisvara AS and the Union of Estonian Architects.

EA Reng tegi läbi põhjaliku identiteedimuutuse ning tegutseb nüüd uue nime all Novarc. Koos sisemise arenguga on astutud oluline samm ka väliselt. Nimi Novarc sümboliseerib ambitsiooni viia ehitus kui oluline majandusvaldkond innovatsiooni teele ning võtta kasutusele kõigi osapoolte koostööd toetavad tehnoloogiad.

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