Tag Archives: 1970s

Standard designs of houses and summer cottages

EKE Projekt, 1970–1980. MEA

The “EKE Projekt” was founded by inter-collective-farm construction company in 1966; it was based on co-operative ownership that lasted for 1992. The bureau was focused on rural architecture. Here on four hand-outs are some of the buildings designed by “EKE Projekt” to help homeowners and cooperatives pick a house. The project’s plans varied – from dwellings to shops and root cellars.
One of the main ideas of the prefabricated cabin Raul was to be easily built (engineer Rein Randväli). Known for its triangular structure, this small building had two levels: lower of which included living room, kitchenette and a toilet, and a small loft as the second floor. The family house and shop Raja-3 (architect Ants Mellik) had two functions combined. On the plan, the shop – along with the kitchen, family room, and garage – were situated on the ground floor, whereas the basement was used for storage space, sauna and utility rooms and the upper floor for bedrooms. Standard project for the one-family dwelling Ants-5 with five rooms comes from a rather popular series in the 1980s (designed by Ants Mellik). The façade of the house was covered by a combination of silicate and wooden lining. Ants-5 had various models, which differed – for example – by the structures of their basements. The vegetable cellar for one-family building (Toomas Lukk, Ants Mellik and Jaan Mõttus) was designed to be partially underground. This cement built cellar came in five variable sizes, smaller models meant for families to use and larger to store root vegetables also for sale. The roof could be covered with humus soil or grass. There are about 100 of these hand-outs of designs made in “EKE Projekt” in the museum collection. Text: Maria Pöppönen


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Tehvandi Ski Centre

Peep Jänes, Tõnu Mellik, Allan Murdmaa (drawing), 1974. MEA 4.6.2

This modern ski centre was built in southern Estonia by commission of the State Committee for Sports of the USSR, and was intended foremost for training Soviet winter athletes. Its location in Tehvandi, on the fringes of Otepää (Estonia’s “winter capital”), was a proper choice, offering a wealth of athletic opportunities amid a landscape of rolling hills. The architects’ vision of a modern centre embedded in an artificial hill, sketched here in perspective, was realised to almost exact detail. Architects’ manner of approaching their task was location-based. Copying Otepää’s hilly landscape, they nestled another spherical form into nature. The Space Race also had a certain influence on the structure’s relatively technical form. The Union of Estonian Architects gave the watercolour to the museum in 1993. Text: Sandra Mälk


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City of the Living – City of the Dead

Leonhard Lapin, 1978. MEA 4.18.2

In the 1970s, in order to voice common opinions and organise a number of social-critical exhibitions and undertakings, avant-garde architectural students united to form a group later called the Tallinn School. “Elavate linn – Surnute linn” (“City of the Living – City of the Dead”) is Leonhard Lapin’s satirical take on the construction of characterless mass housing. The author hid several important allegories in the drawing: the words “Väike õhkamine” (“Little Sighing”) stuck between the buildings symbolise the Pruitt-Igoe Modernist housing project in St. Louis, MO, USA (demolished in 1972); while “Autodes matmine” (“Burial in cars”) in the centre of the work references Lapin’s friend Vilen Künnapu (also an architect), who was one of the first members of the Tallinn School to acquire a vehicle. The drawing was displayed at the Library of the Estonian Academy of Science in 1978 among other works of which many were donated to the museum by engineer Reet Lumiste in 1991.


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Pirita beach pavilion

Pirita beach pavilion, photographer Rein Vainküla

Photographer Rein Vainküla of State Design Office Tsentrosojuzprojekt has captured the photogenic central element of the Pirita beach pavilion with its dining establishments, in which the combination of architectural parts provides an impressive melange. The shot, built on contrasting tones and diagonal lines, creates a somewhat deceptive, even constructivist impression. A human scale is added to the photograph by the beach-goers that seem to be almost strategically positioned.

Planning the new Pirita beach pavilion was instigated for the sailing regatta that took place in Tallinn as part of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. To make way for the new building, which was completed in 1979, a wooden beach pavilion designed by Edgar Kuusik and Franz de Vries and built in 1929, was demolished. At first, the new building, blindingly light and bright in the sun, had a restaurant, bar, cafeteria, three banquet halls, and in each wing rooms intended for beach-goers. The building was designed by Mai Roosna at Tsentrosojuzprojekt. At the beginning of the 2000s, the building was almost completely rebuilt to house apartments (architect Ülo Peil).


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Dr Spock’s residence

Tiit Kaljundi, architectural competition 1975, perspective drawing 1984, unrealised. Accession number K-53

Tiit Kaljundi’s relationship with Soviet Estonia’s official architectural scene was conflicted, as one may have expected from an avant-garde artist. The ruling power saw monotonous mass apartment blocks as a simple opportunity to ease the deficit of dwelling-spaces. For Kaljundi, however, it was a situation that dampened creativity and encouraged a superficial attitude towards the residential environment, to which he responded with a starkly opposite project – the post-modernist villa. The design, which was originally entered in the magazine Japan Architect’s “House for a Superstar” competition in 1975, was dedicated to famous American doctor Benjamin Spock, whose childrearing book was widely read in Estonia at the time. This version was drafted for an exhibition highlighting the “Tallinn School” of architects, which was held in Finland in 1984. Kaljundi’s protest against the Soviet Union’s rigid, anonymous building culture is obvious. By creating an analogy between construction-stages and life-stages, he clearly expresses the opinion that man and architecture are not separable. The house and the concrete-sidewalked property around it symbolised the various stages of life. Kaljundi’s drawing presents the structure from an axonometric perspective, which enables its imagination in a three-dimensional scale on a two-dimensional surface.


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