Tag Archives: 1970s

Botanic Garden administrative building

Ülevi Eljand, 1979. EAM MK 177

The establishment of the Botanic Garden on the land of President Konstantin Päts’ farm in Kloostrimetsa began in the late 1950s. Initially, staff offices and business premises were located in the former farm buildings. The new administrative building was designed by architect Ülevi Eljand in 1979, but the building itself was not finished until 1988. The small white asymmetrical building, located in a park meadow, is one of the few neo-functionalist buildings in Tallinn. The north part of the building has a conference hall on two floors, on the south side of the building is a connected conservatory with a swimming pool and fireplace. In contrast to the front facade, the garden side is articulated by a staircase descending from the second floor hall. The model of the building was donated to the museum by the Tallinn Botanic Garden in 2008. A year ago in November 2022, the model was exhibited at the Valga Museum as part of the jubilee exhibition of architect Ülevi Eljand (1947-2023). Text: Anne Lass

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Pärnu Maritime School

Heili Volberg, 1970. EAM 51.1.4

In 1970, architect Heili Volberg designed an extension to the dormitory of the maritime school located by the moat in Pärnu. Spacious classrooms, an auditoorium and a sports hall, even a hairdresser’s office, was planned in the educational building. Pärnu Maritime School was closed and the project was not completed. The school dormitory was reconstructed and the Viiking health center was opened in the building at the beginning of August 1993. The boards of Pärnu Maritime School were designed by interior architect Aate-Heli Õun using the collage technique. The work was donated to the museum by architect Heili Volberg-Raig in 2013. Text: Anna-Liiza Izbaš

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Bus Terminal in Caracas

Oscar Tenreiro, 1976–1977. EAM fond 70

The giant bus terminal in Caracas was the first collaborative project of Estonian-born engineer August Komenant and Venezuelan architect Oscar Tenreiro. In an interview with the architectural historian Carl-Dag Lige, Tenreiro told the story of how it came about: “How did Dr. Komendant come to the fore? I had seen and partly read his book 18 years with the architect Louis I. Kahn. Why? Because Louis Kahn was very renowned in the world. I also came across a book review, which began with a paraphrase: “No architect is a hero in the eyes of his engineer”. I read the book and told myself that I need such a man for my project. It was the Caracas bus terminal…” (Civil engineer August Komendant, Compiler Carl-Dag Lige, Estonian Museum of Architecture 2022, page 87).
The 9 original drawings of the Caracas Bus Terminal, together with the drawings of the Plaza Bicentenario square and the planned Venezuelan National Gallery GAN were donated by the renowned architect to Estonian Museum of Architecture in January 2020. The drawings by Oscar Tenreiro and nearly a few hundred photos will be an addition to the new archive fond of engineer August Komendant. Text: Anne Lass


Café Neitsitorn (Maiden Tower)

Interior architect Aala Buldas, 1970–1980. EAM 4.7.17

One of the most unique defensive towers of the Tallinn city wall, the quadrilateral Neitsitorn (Maiden Tower) was restored in the 1970s. The Maiden Tower together with Kiek in de Kök were defensive structures of crucial importance in the defense of medieval Tallinn. However, after the loss of the status of Tallinn as a fortress city, the centuries-long defense function of the wall towers changed, and in the 19th century the wall towers were rebuilt into dwellings, as did the Maiden Tower. The two-storey residential building became a home for renowned artists and writers, whose apartments had several studio rooms. In the early 1970s, field research on the Tallitorn (Stable Tower) and the Maiden Tower began in order to find a public function for the building. The work was encouraged by the forthcoming Olympic regatta. During the reconstruction of the Maiden Tower, about half of the structure was rebuilt almost as new. The building was given a new floor, underground utility rooms and an impressive glass wall on the Old Town side. The Café Neitsitorn was situated in the new premises, which opened its doors to the public in 1980 and immediately became a big hit. The authors of the tower’s reconstruction design were an architect Tiina Linna, an art historian Villem Raam, and the café’s interior design was made by Aala Buldas. In 2022, the drawings were donated to the museum by Eva Mölder from the restoration company Vana Tallinn. Text: Sandra Mälk

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Visions of Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center

Mart Port, 1972–1973. EAM 52.4.2

Major design work preceded the sailing regatta of the 1980 Olympic Games in Tallinn. The Pirita estuary was redesigned to serve the public and sailors. As the local architects had little experience in creating a building complex that meets the requirements of the Olympic Games, the then city architect Dmitri Bruns decided to travel to Kiel, Germany, where the 1972 Olympic regatta was held, together with Mart Port, chief architect of the Estonian Project, and Urmo Kala, deputy chairman of the sports committee. There, with the kind assistance of the German colleagues the group got acquainted with the construction of the Olympic Sailing Center in Schilksee. The knowledge gained allowed us to announce an architectural competition in 1973 to find a project for the Pirita Sailing Center in which 12 works were submitted. The accompanying visualization comes from an album of Mart Port’s works and was probably part of a set of projects submitted to the competition but not awarded. The hotel has a hotel-bar-restaurant for athletes and guests at the forefront, and of course the Olympic light tower is centrally located in the complex. Like the Schilksee sailing center, the buildings have been built in stages. While in the lower picture the pier edge is used by holidaymakers, in the upper picture the tone is set by cars, which are probably influenced by Western magazines. The design features modern American cars, including the sporty-looking Dodge Challenger. The album was donated to the museum by Heldi Toom in 2014. Text: Sandra Mälk

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EMA 30 / Tiny tour of models: Estonian Agricultural Academy (currently Estonian University of Life Sciences) in Tartu

Valve Pormeister, 1979. EAM MK 248

The construction of the new building complex for the Estonian Agricultural Academy in Tähtvere at the north-western border of Tartu was already launched in the 1960s. The Faculty of Forestry and Agricultural Mechanics building, designed by architect Valve Pormeister, was completed in 1983. This was one of the largest new buildings in Tartu, and the one with the most complex layout. The building consists of two contrasting structures intersected by three trapezium-shaped courtyards. The stepped main facade is articulated by round windowless stairwell towers, while the part of the building facing the river has a more laconic design. The massive circular auditorium was never built. The model was handed to the museum by the Estonian University of Life Sciences in 2019. Text: Anne Lass

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Garden planning and landscaping sketch

Vaike Parker, 1971. EAM 45.1.8

The house located in Merivälja district in Tallinn was acquired by the Association of Journalists in the 1960s and soon transformed into the institution’s holiday home. A thorough design for the garden of the house was needed to organise bigger events. It was commissioned from the renowned landscape architect Vaike Parker. The sketch depicts architect’s first thoughts before drawing up a complete design – these thoughts have been sketched on delicate tracing paper using a soft pencil. Listed are the objects that complement the landscaping details, e.g. a water canal, a deck chair and a screen. In 2010, Vaike Parker

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A new environment of Tallinn

Sirje Runge, 1975. EAM 4.17.1

The images show different visions for enlivening the urban space of Tallinn. Designer Sirje Runge (Lapin 1969–82) submitted this design as her diploma work at the Estonian State Art Institute. The goal was to propose new ideas to bring citizens and contemporary city closer together in an artistic manner by integrating new technical landscape forms into the urban space. Upgrading the monotonous city became an unlimited field of work for young creatives against the backdrop of the official Soviet architecture that favoured repetitive environments. In her vision, new elements were introduced to the city and the colour schemes added to the housing. The visions were of three types: the first (p. 1 and 2), supergraphics for the façades; secondly, audiovisual communication centres – the artist saw in those open and accessible spaces a new meeting places for the community and where advertisement also plays its role. The latter (p. 8 and 9) introduced conceptual objects such as steel box that governs a natural object and a clock mechanism situated at the main square in Tallinn. In that sense, such irrational objects placed in the industrial city would bring human and city closer together. Sirje Runge gave the works to the museum as a gift in 2003. Text: Sandra Mälk

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Interior design for the Trall kindergarten in Pärnu KEK

1975–1978, Helle Gans. EAM 4.14.2

The interiors of the nursery school and crèche situated in the Pärnu Kolkhoz Construction Office residential quarter is one of a kind. The dynamics of the corridors, arising from the colour patterns from the signs in the ceiling, helped and directed children to the rooms of their group. The drawing contains several views. The layouts of the corridors are complemented by a group room in axonometrical view, which was furnished with expressive colourful furniture upon completion. Interior architect Helle Gans was guided by the realization that children reducen everything to the level of play. For that reason, the fold-out furniture and interior design are both functional and playful, stimulating children’s imaginations. The kindergarten displayed here is in line with the modern concept of the Pärnu KEK campus and takes after the pop-like infographic (Villu Järmut and Taevo Gans) of the inner street of the terraced apartment building Kuldne Kodu (Golden Home). In the year 2008 Andres Ringo gave the drawings to the museum. Text: Sandra Mälk

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Nauru House in Melbourne

Ernst Kesa, 1970. EAM 12.1.1

The design for the 52-storey skyscraper was commissioned by the government of the small island country of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean after rapid increase in wealth thanks to the phosphate industry. The building became an international investment project which was also due to house the residency of the president of Nauru. The skyscraper on the presentable Collins Street in Melbourne was the highest building in the city in 1977 and was designed by the largest architecture office in Australia – Perrott Lyon Timlock & Kesa. The managing architect of the Nauru project was Ernst Kesa, who emigrated from Estonia during the war and also drew up a perspective view of the building. Ernst Kesa donated this drawing on the tracing paper made with ink to the museum in 1992. Text: Sandra Mälk 

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