Tag Archives: coloured pencil

Reconstruction of the Neitsitorn tower into a studio apartment

Karl Burman, 1945–1947. MEA 3.2.34

Artist-architect Karl Burman lost his home in Kadriorg during the war and received new rooms in Neitsitorn (the Virgin’s Tower) in Old Town Tallinn, which had been an established gathering place for artists for a long time. The top floors of the tower housed a studio and living quarters. For 20 years the famous architect lived in a small one-room apartment within the thick walls of the medieval wall tower and planned to carry out reconstructions during his time there. In the sketches, Karl Burman has depicted the tower as a southern villa with spacious balconies and skylights, he also covered the façades with lush climbing plants. Every corner has been put into use – benches and built-in cupboards designed for the niches. The tower was restored and reconstructed as a cafeteria in 19681980. The drawings came to the museum via architect Teddy Böckler in 1994. Text: Sandra Mälk


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Lighting design for the bank building in Tartu

Aarne Mõttus (drawing), Arnold Matteus, Karl Burman. EAM 2.3.49

In 1936 the people of Tartu named the building of the Tartu branch of Eesti Pank (Bank of Estonia) (designed by Arnold Matteus and Karl Burman) as one of the most stately-looking new structures in the city. The bronze sculptures by sculptor Juhan Raudsepp add to the artistic integrity of the presentable façade. It was no coincidence that this bank building was also chosen as one of the public buildings to be decorated for the 20th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. The lighting design for the façade, overseeing the square, was prepared by graphic and scenographer Aarne Mõttus. Drawing was donated by restoration firm Pindisain Ehitus in 2001. Text: Sandra Mälk


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Tallinn Song Festival Arena (sketch)

Alar Kotli, 1957-1958. MEA 23.1.51

The Tallinn Song Festival Arena represents the re-arrival of modernism to Estonia during the Khrushchev Thaw. The Estonian SSR leadership commissioned the structure to mark the 20th anniversary of Soviet rule, but to Estonians, it was a symbol of their nationality and culture. The Song Festival Arena was essentially also a way of the nation thumbing its nose at the USSR – with its completion, Estonians’ nearly 100-year tradition of holding mass song festivals was immortalised. Alar Kotli came close to an entirely innovative final solution already when making his initial sketches, which include a saddle-roof in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid that functions as an acoustic screen. The sketches were donated to the museum by Anu Kotli in 1997.


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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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