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We live in a rapidly developing but, at the same time, extremely turbulent world. A growing economy, the quality of the social and cultural environment allows us to choose values, whereas global unrest and climate change obliges us to test them. Simultaneously, the concept of the quality of architecture is also evolving from an artistic, functional, and technical point of view; architecture is taking on an increasingly social aspect. 


Cultural buildings have become not only local landmarks but also spaces for social fellowship, fostering creativity and learning; they have become homes for culture and interculturality. Europe announced a new system of architectural quality criteria - the New European Bauhaus, which was stimulated by the European Green Course. Therefore, for us, this project is primarily the realization of the values and vision of the city through architectural means. 



As the concept of the quality of modern architecture changes, the New European Bauhaus redefines the value criteria of architecture: beauty, sustainability, and inclusion [beautiful, sustainable, together]. In the project, we aim to give a meaning to these new standards. 

We understand beauty through contextuality and authentic modern aesthetics, we create sustainability in several aspects - social, economic and energetic, and we make inclusion meaningful through diversity and interaction of functions. 

As much as the architecture of the building is important, its content is also important to us, in order for the building to fulfill not only functional expectations, but also create opportunities for various scenarios. Thus, the main ideas can be summoned in the following main theses: 

  1. Architectural contextuality and subtlety

  2. Undissected, yet interactive function, quality content 

  3. Less building – more public space



The project is located in a diverse context. The site is surrounded by historic buildings, public spaces, and the natural environment – the Emajõgi River. With the volume of the building, we are not aiming for contrast, but rather for interaction with the nearest urban environment. The building as a volume is not egocentric, but gives priority to public space. 

Main urban ideas: 

1. The historical construction line at Küüni Street and the historical axis of Kauba Street are restored.

2. The building forms a maximally large, usable green space towards the river, which becomes a single whole.



The main architectural objective is to find a subtle, moderate dialogue with the adjacent architectural environment, paying particular attention to the buildings on Küüni and Poe streets, the old town's character. The successful examples of contemporary architecture in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries are distinguished by tasteful moderation and rationality; thus, with this project, we seek to continue the characteristics of these trends, complement them, and popularize them.

With this project, we aim to demonstrate, that architecture as such, is as successful, as it is not more significant than the contents of the building. Therefore, we can express the architecture of the building in a few words - contextuality, moderation, and rationality. 

The architectural algorithm of the building consists of the following main points: 

1. contextualized contemporary architecture.

2. Architecture that overcomes spaces. Open building - building functions communicate with public spaces.

3. Throughout the exterior of the building, the balance of glazed and solid planes is maintained as a characteristic feature of the Tartu old town.



With this project, we pursue not solely to preserve or not harm the valuable local heritage [the competition area is in the Tartu Old Town buffer zone and partly in the heritage conservation area], but also to highlight several of the most important motives of the urban-architectural history of the place. 

Underground construction is only planned between Kauba and Uueturu Streets; thus, the area between Kauba and Poe Streets will require only foundations, which, after detailed archaeological research, can be designed to avoid damaging the stone and wooden structures that are currently below ground level. The structure of the building is planned in such a way, that its northern border could be adjusted depending on the data obtained during archaeological research. Hence, the solution is adaptive regardless of the currently unavailable data and would not fundamentally change the concept of the building 

The main heritage causes influencing the structure of the building are:

1. The historical route of Kauba Street is being restored.

2. The construction line of the building at Küüni Street echoes the historical construction of the quarter.

3. The structure of the first floor of the building reflects the historical construction of two blocks - a pedestrian area is opened on Kauba Street.

4. The historical design of the bastion is traced on the park's pavements.

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