Tag Archives: 1930s

Lighting design for the bank building in Tartu

Aarne Mõttus (drawing), Arnold Matteus, Karl Burman. MEA 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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Johannes Orro’s dwelling at Raudtee Street in Tallinn

Edgar Velbri, design 1932, constructed. MEA 14.1.46

Bustling Nõmme had already grown from a holiday village to a reasonably-sized town (possessing town privileges from 1926–1940, after which it became a district of Tallinn) when café-owner Major Johannes Orro presented the design for his new building to the town government in 1932. True to the era of thriving small businesses, the ground floor of the residential building in the Kivimäe neighbourhood housed a bakery – an unquestionably successful venture, given its close proximity to the railway station. The design was drafted by young architect and Tallinn Technical University student Edgar Velbri, who was fascinated by old-fashioned architecture; probably a result of his summer internships at the Estonian National Museum, during which he surveyed Estonian farm structures. The hipped roofs, romantic shutters, and vertical siding characteristic of Estonian agricultural architecture later carried over into the architect’s personal style. Complementing such features with his talent for creating functional floorplan solutions, Velbri gained great public favour and demand, and his cosy structures gained their own nickname: “Velbri houses”. This single-page ink drawing on tracing paper is a typical 1930s residential design project, which was submitted for official approval along with an explanatory letter. Text: Sandra Mälk


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