The project is the 1st Prize from the open international competition on the new Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn. It is a 25.000 sqm compact tower that accommodates faculties of architecture, fine arts, design, art history, open academy and also administration, café, shop, conference centre. The project is now in the detailed design stage.
Excerpt from jury report:
“The Jury voted Art Plaza as the winner of the competition because it is by far the best proposal when it comes to the architectural concept, its outer qualities and inner life. The project is stunningly simple and at the same time fascinatingly complex.
In making the final decision, the sustainability of the project was essential for the Jury: the plans of Art Plaza are flexible enough that they can be technologically transformed and their construction logic allows the use of many different solutions. At the same time, Art Plaza has one of the lowest long-term maintenance and construction costs of the proposed solutions.
The authors were brave to cast aside the plan of restrictions and the “envelope” idea. However, unlike many others who chose the same direction, these authors came up with a sensitive urban solution that is elegant and communicates with its surroundings. In the end, this justified the risk taken and brought success to the competition entry.
The outer shape is a beautifully proportioned square tower. Downtown Tallinn is dominated by visually “noisy” buildings screaming at each other. In this chaos, Art Plaza bravely disregards the described “envelope” and suggests erecting a quiet, calm and perfect tower with only half the footprint of the site, liberating a 4000m2 plaza in the heart of Tallinn. A plaza is not defined by its perimeter but by its life and the events that take place on it. This plaza will stand out as a unique place in downtown Tallinn, filled with students and art. Art plaza will become the new living room of Tallinn.
The 4 facades become individual due to the spiraling sky-plazas, opening the building up from the inside. The tower is constantly changing expression and form when one moves through the city. The façade is decorated by a simple but very varied structural ornament that plays with light and shadow in the façade. The stabilizing core and the façade are the building’s only two vertical elements, allowing completely flexible plans. It is a compact, yet light building, making it sustainable and affordable – the jury’s experts even pointed to it as one of the most cost efficient.
The spiral void is the heart of the building. The corkscrew movement connects the entire building and creates 4 public plazas with stunning views of the entire city. The building has one plaza to each corner of the world – East, West, North, and South. The sky plazas open up the building from within, creating an art academy in constant dialogue with the city - a modern open academy that interacts with society and the world. The experience of being in the building will be similar to living inside a sculpture of space. Each floor is ca 1600m2 and completely flexible. It is an open structure, filled with light and stunning views of the city. Functionally, each floor can be its own entity, allowing students to focus on their work, but the floors are also tied together with the rest of the academy through the spiral atrium. As by magic, concentration and communication are unified in a beautiful architectonic duet. The project has the potential of becoming an international masterpiece, the beacon of Estonia, attracting people from all over the world to see the art academy of the future – a calm sculpture in the roar of downtown Tallinn.”