Estonian Rural Architecture. Boris Mirov (1929-1996)



18.11. – 28.02.2010

B o r i s  M i r o v (11 June 1929-14 December 1996), just like Mart Port, Uno Tölpus, Valve Pormeister, Voldemar Herkel and many others, belonged to the generation of Estonian architects who acquired their vocation at the Tallinn Polytechnic Institute in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Boris Mirov was born in Tartu, his father’s surname had initially been non-Russian – Friede. At the end of the Second World War the family moved to Tallinn. Alar Kotli, Peeter Tarvas and August Volberg, professors  of architecture at the TPI facilitated excellent architectural education while the engineers in charge of the Chair of Construction Faculty ensured reliable technical training.

Having completed his studies, B. Mirov went to work at the Design Project Institute Eesti Põllumajandusprojekt (Estonian Agricultural Design), and thus his input was associated with rural architecture. In 1966–1989 he was a Chief Architect at the Estonian State Design Institute’s Eesti Maaehitusprojekt (Estonian Rural Design). His workdesk saw the completion of many projects that shaped the image of Soviet Estonian rural landscapes, including many standard houses (in cooperation with Manivald Noor) and several public buildings: the Aseri Culture House (1972), the Edasi collective farm’s administrative  building in Libatse (co-author Maie Penjam, adopted by Tiit Krossmann, completed in 1975) the Pöide Culture House on Saaremaa (1988). Participating in authors’ collectives, B. Mirov won numerous awards, the most prominent one being the Soviet Union Prize for the Saku, Vinni and Kurtna settlements’ planning and architecture. In 1963–1992 B. Mirov was a lecturer (from 1983 – docent) at the Chair of Architecture of the Estonian State Art Institute.

Boris Mirov was professionally active during the time when cheap mass construction was imposed on the national level, accompanied by standard projects and industrialisation. He had few opportunities to implement his creative potential, mostly in original designs of public buildings and privately commissioned single-family houses. B. Mirov was an eloquent author, publishing his architectural views in copious articles. His colleagues remember him as an intelligent, talented and very sociable person with the distinguishing features of honesty and frankness as he often shared his opinion in situations where others dared not.