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Eesti arhitektid Bulgaaria nädalalehes

01.09.2011
Bulgaaria suurim nädalaleht Capital avaldas oma 31.08.2011 numbris ülevaatliku artikli uuemast eesti arhitektuurist. Intervjueeriti nii arhitekte kui Eesti Arhitektuurikeskuse esindajaid. Sõna said Indrek Allmann, Jan Skolimowski, Peeter Loo, Mihkel Tüür, Ott Kadarik, Maarja Kask ning Carl-Dag Lige.

Artikkel: Млада гвардия (pdf)

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Artikli osaline tõlge inglise keelde*

The Young Generation
By Mladen Petrov, Tallinn

Currently the Estonian Architecture School sounds like something unknown. It’s just a question of short time to change that. With several prominent names we met days before the first Biennale of Architecture in Tallinn.

At the end of 2009 the Estonian economic daily newspaper Äripaev briefly reported that local architects have received the first ever Estonian International Architecture Award. The following lines show that the International competition was actually held in neighbouring Latvia and the young architects, if the economic situation permits, will boast one day that they are authors of the project of "Marriott" Hotel in Riga. The text is devoid of enthusiasm, and the author of the article is also surprised by what happened, and so are some of the readers. Young Estonian School of Architecture? Why are we doing this?

The truth is that what in Estonia is taken for granted is making a huge impression outside the country - its most prominent architects have recently graduated from the University, which by itself sounds promising, free of clichés and burden the past. Another promising factor is that the investors are willing to commission projects from young architects.

"In Estonia everything is so small that it is sufficient if somewhere there are ten buildings and this place is called a city," said the architect Jan Skolimowski. Educated and worked abroad, Jan is one of the architects who created the modern face of the Estonian architecture.

From 8th to 11th September 2011, in Tallinn will take place the first Architectural Biennalle.  Several days before the event, offering numerous exhibitions, installations and discussions (this year the focus is on shaping the urban environment) we talk with some of the brightest representatives of the new generation of local architects.

"The Estonian architecture is fresh, not looking for cheap fame and glossy solutions. The local Architects are not superstars and most of them do not even aspire to become such. They prefer to concentrate on creating good, high quality architecture, leaving the buildings to speak for themselves " says Carl-Dag Lige from the Estonian Centre of Architecture (ECA), which is the institution organizing the Biennale.

Estonian architecture, like most things in the country (e.g. the e-government), also draws on the experience of the Scandinavian neighbours. Although it is not correct the Estonian architecture to be called Scandinavian, it is not wrong to tag it with "first cousin of Finnish Architecture." Finnish and Estonian architects maintained intensive contacts even in the years between the wars, but the major influence in this period comes from Germany. Many of the architects of the first generation of Estonian architects received their education in Riga, which was the intellectual and financial capital of the Baltic-German culture. After the war the Finnish architecture still serves as a model to be completed in the 90's by the Dutch and the Danish Architecture. The conclusion is that the Estonian architects are not afraid to take what they like from the others without being away from the clean northern forms.

Last year Estonia was presented with the exhibition "100 houses" on the Biennale in Venice, showing the World the best of the local school - the houses design.

This summer BOOMROOM, another exhibition organized by ECA in the Museum of Architecture in Moscow for the first time since the Soviet collapse, again associated architects on both sides. It's been more than 20 years without any contacts, but the memory of the Estonian architects like Toomas Rein, Vilen Künnapuu, Leonhard Lapin and Allan Murdmaa, influenced by the Scandinavian and the Western Europe’s architecture is still alive. The exhibition BOOMROOM is representing the best Estonian architectural projects of the past decade and will be shown also in other countries where the Estonian architecture is as unknown as in Russia.

Indrek Alman, Pluss
The Estonian contemporary architecture is architecture of the young people. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the young Estonian architects were given the opportunity to practice abroad, mainly in Finland. The experience they got was brought back to Estonia and the “old school” of architects has acquired an "opposition". During the past 20 years we had the opportunity to learn on real buildings. But we should be honest - we did not function in a vacuum, one can trace foreign influences, mainly from the Netherlands.

Estonia has a long tradition of home design. The architectural competitions are open to all with no requirement for previous experience, etc. So it is difficult being an architect in Estonia. Our architecture is not afraid to experiment. It is important for us to use different shapes, ideas and materials. Sometimes we get major practical defects, but this is not always the final result. Overall Tallinn is a very interesting place to work, primarily because it is a small town. I think Estonia is very modern in architectural terms, although most Estonians do not realize it. The Form is subordinate to the Function; there is no room for traditionalism, neither from expensive modern solutions.

Jan Skolimowski, Peter Loo, KAMP Arhitektid
As about half of the year Estonia is plunged into darkness, for us is very important to capture the light in the buildings. We use natural materials, especially wood. We try to design buildings that use less energy and generally coexist with the nature. We seek new forms. For me the definition of a beautiful architecture is very simple - it is the architecture that fits the location and respects the neighbouring buildings. I haven't refused working with a client, but I happened to explain step by step how to design a building to serve the people instead of obeying them. Tallinn is an interesting town – it has a remarkable industrial architecture and interesting samples of the Soviet architecture.

Tallinn is opened to the sea. Currently the city centre is cut away from the sea and we are discussing how to solve this issue. We'll need some time, but the city will change for sure. This is good news for the architects here. It is difficult to be an architect in Estonia. If you're 30 and have your own office, then you have what to do. It is good that in Estonia the young architects and their ideas are well supported.
What we can offer the world as a typical Estonian decision? I am convinced that clay and straw houses will be popular again. At one competition we presented a building made entirely of clay.

Mihkel Tüür and Ott Kadarik, Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid
The main theme in modern Estonian architecture is the space. How it works? Each architect has its own way to deal with this topic, but for us the most important aspect of the space is how to turn it into a place for the people.

What you should know about the Estonian architecture? That it is unique. In our work we try as much as possible to remain closer to our roots, and our buildings to have a local broadcast. And if what we finally get does not fit in a momentary fashion or it is not cool enough or does not seem very familiar, it doesn’t worry us. This is what can be called a true Estonian behaviour. If we can leave something in the architecture, something that is Estonian, this would be our relationship to the space. Tallinn is a very interesting city for work - our city is full of contradictions and all sorts of differences, which is very promising.

Maarja Kask, Salto
What is typically Estonian? Bad weather, meadows and forests. The new Estonian architecture is slow - what does it mean: We need time to consider various aspects of a project to find the relationship between the economic and the environmental. Our architecture is quiet and calm; our clients do not operate with concepts such as "sleek" and "is striking." What is our vision for architecture? The more we pay attention to the fundamental principles than the trends and fashion, the better. Our task is to seek solutions, even if the budget is limited. Fortunately we have always had the opportunity to select the projects we work on, so to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Tallinn offers the architects many empty spaces

*Aitäh Piret Nõmmelale