Occupation Museum, at Toompea St, Tallinn
INDREK PEIL, SIIRI VALLNER
Architect: OÜ Head Arhitektid
Authors: Indrek Peil, Siiri Vallner, with contributions by Tomomi Hayashi
Sisekujundus: Peil, Siiri Vallner, Tomomi Hayashi, Toomas Kuslap
Structural design: AS ESP, Design Office Teinos
Client: Kistler-Ritso Estonian Foundation
Completed: July 2003
Net area: 1496 m²
The question of spatial control and freedom in this project are of particular interest for us as architects. In this article, we consider this from two different aspects that overlap in some points. The first is construction itself and its control. The second is the control and freedom that can be encoded there through the organisation of space.
As young architects, we were critical in respect to certain things in Estonian architecture when starting out. One of them is certainly precision of thought and well thought out space – that every detail would both conform to the overall whole as well as realising its function in material so that every point in space would recognisably belong here. This is a rather believable way of thinking in the case of a small building because it is feasible for 1500 m². It is reasonably easy to maintain a clear mental picture in the case of a building of these dimensions.
We set ourselves the objective of very great precision that all the makers of special parts, and later the builder had to observe. This is also the area in which we achieved a relatively satisfactory result, regardless of very many situations of conflict. We do not know how other architects do this, but according to our experience, only one means is effective – to be present. It became customary for us to spend a couple of hours at the site every day throughout the entire course of construction – to explain to the workmen, to praise them or then to raise our voice, but primarily to encourage them.
At the beginning of the process, we thought a great deal of how and in what respect the spatial experience of this building differs from other buildings. In recent years, the materiality of things has started to fascinate us ever more. What kind of material is it – does it expose or cover, show or hide, allure or repel? We did not want to be categorical architects who simply combine various products. All of this set fixed requirements for technical solutions and quality of construction.
An optimally functioning solution was found for the integration of the glass suspensors with the main supporting framework, regardless of the irregular transitions of the latter. The console portion was not the most complicated structural problem in this building, even though it required some technical devising in construction. The most varieties of solutions were tried out rather for the spanning