Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH


Väljaandmist toetab
Eesti Kultuurkapital


Dwelling in Tabasalu



Architects: Muru Pere Architects
Authors: Urmas Muru, Peeter Pere
Structural design: Ago Kuddu
Design: 2002
Completed: 2004
Site area: 1621 m2
Total floor area: 210,9 m2

This barrel-shaped, self-absorbed house in Tabasalu in the middle of a fairly ordinary new development of private dwellings is already an intriguing sight. Knowing its background – the authors whose work in art and architecture forms a complicated yet strangely consistent sequence – the object seems positively seductive. It is rather exceptional in the context of Estonia that the work of architects in various formats has tossed an abundance of hints and clues for different interpretations, while consciously producing additional mystification. The relationship between oppressive seriousness and tomfoolery seems at the same time to be inclined in favour of the former. Thus, should we walk into the trap set for us, or is the trap what it appears to be in the first place?

While the house is admittedly expressive, it is nevertheless not necessary to interpret it with the help of stylistic concepts. It does not symbolise anything – it functions in its own form and material. Primarily in material. Material has always been a substantial quality of architecture. (Modernistic) transparency corresponded to a transparent society, simultaneously creating and signifying it – invisible buildings, endless space and open society. While transparency created paranoia space, reflectivity created a panic space that makes all boundaries less distinct and duplicates subjects. In the case of this house by Muru and Pere, though, we face a silent copper surface. The windows illogically “engraved” into this surface and the knowledge of its corrosion and ultimate decomposition recall that density is deceptive. The surface, rather, is taut and on the path to destruction. When looking at it closely, we are face to face with reality that is too close and decomposition that is too real. This is paradoxical, since architecture cannot completely be a process art that achieves closure in decomposition and arriving back at its starting point.

Some sort of instability is jammed, perhaps even forcibly, in the shape of the house regardless of its stout volumes. It is formless in a certain sense, which approaches the informe of Bataille: what it means is not important, rather how it functions, how it feels; a formless body of matter, nothing in itself or if it is, then more likely base or corporal, meaningless, yet with cognitive potential.

Real and formless are definitions that primarily concern the corporal. In striving to seek a different way of speaking, to which the house appeared to entice, and setting aside function, spatial layout, plans, and style, we reach the conclusion that the house

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