Estonian Academy of Arts announces the winners of the international architecture

The Jury of the Estonian Academy of Arts international architecture competition for the new academic and administration building awarded the First Prize to ART PLAZA, authored by Danish architectural bureaus EFFEKT and SEA.

Second prize went to an entry named TLN 247 by Dutch architects from NAT Architecten bv and the third prize to Portuguese Paulo Sérgio Gonçalves Teixeira de Sousa for his work ARTS FACTORY. Two purchase prizes were distributed to another Dutch bureau BOARD, led by Bernd Upmeyer for the design PUBLICSECTION and French-born architect Francois Blanciak residing in Japan for his work SASHIMI. Images of the winning entries are available on www.artun.ee/maja

«The Jury voted Art Plaza as the winner of the competition because it is by far the best proposal when it comes to architectural concept, outer qualities and inner life. The project is stunningly simple and at the same time fascinatingly complex,» said Jury member David Zahle.
The outer shape is a beautifully proportioned square tower. Tallinn’s downtown is dominated by visually «noisy» buildings screaming to each other. In this chaos Art Plaza suggests erecting a quiet, calm and perfect tower with only half the footprint of the site, liberating a 4000m2 plaza in the heart of Tallinn. This plaza will stand out as a unique place in downtown Tallinn, filled with students and art. Art plaza will become the new living room of Tallinn.
The heart of the building is a spiral void. The corkscrew movement connects the entire building and creates 4 public plazas with stunning views of the entire city. The sky plazas open up the building from within, creating an art academy in constant dialog with the city – a modern open academy, which interacts with society and the world.
«The project has potential of becoming an international masterpiece, the beckon of Estonia, attracting people from all over the world to see the art academy of the future – a calm sculpture in the roar of downtown Tallinn,» stands in the Jury Report.
The contest for the architectural solution of the new academic building of the Estonian Academy of Arts was declared in order to find the best architectural and functional solution for the building that will be the core of Estonian art life in the future. In addition to the skilful supplementation of the existing cityscape and an outstanding architectural appearance, the submitted projects were expected to look into the future, being ecological and sustainable in essence.
«It is difficult to underestimate the body of spatial ideas they contain. The majority of the projects have been created on a highly professional level and with a sufficient degree of elaboration.
Therefore, it was the spatial ideas they contained that started to compete before the jury. As no pure idea is viable without further development, neither were the selected top ideas. We were looking for a building that would not be conclusively elaborated, but could easily undergo internal restructuring when need appears. We were looking for a building where art could be created and which would itself become part of the created art through the continuous creative process,» commented Jury member Indrek Allmann on the assessment principles.
Since the start of the competition, for nearly six months, there has been remarkable interest in the international architecture competition – more than 3200 individuals or architectural bureaus from all over the world have downloaded the competition brief from the campaign website www.artun.ee/maja . By the entry deadline, 96 works were submitted from over 25 countries, including ca 20 entries from Estonia.
The competition entries were assessed by an international Jury, membered by Chairman of the Jury, Rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts Prof Signe Kivi, Vice Chairman of the Union of Estonian Architects (UEA), Indrek Allmann, Professor Emeritus of EAA, architect Veljo Kaasik, Dean of the Faculty of Art Culture of EAA, Prof Mart Kalm, former Chairman of UEA, architect Ülar Mark, Tallinn Chief Architect Endrik Mänd, architect Roger Riewe (Riegler Riewe Architects Pty. Ltd., Austria), Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of EAA, Prof Jüri Soolep, and architect David Zahle (Bjarke Ingels Group, Denmark).
The prize fund is 2,4 million EEK, which shall be distributed among the authors of the five awarded entries. First Prize winners will take home 1 million EEK, which is the largest prize fund ever assigned in Estonia among architectural competitions. The prize fund is financed by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the City of Tallinn and Estonian Academy of Arts. The architectural competition was organised by Union of Estonian Architects in cooperation with the Estonian Academy of Arts.
In the last ten years or more there have been plans to move the academy to various facilities in Tallinn (Tondi barracks, Cellulose Factory – now Fahle House, Patarei Sea Fortress (since 1919 prison), buildings of the psychoneurological hospital at Paldiski Road, etc.). After long searches, the Council of EAA decided on March 31, 2006, to construct the new building of the Estonian Academy of Arts on the current plot in Tallinn city centre in order to preserve historical consistency. The decision for selecting the historic location was also based on the existing part plan and results of mobile positioning of the members of EAA conducted in 2006.
«The physical environment of the Estonian Academy of Arts is the worst among public universities in Estonia. The main building of EAA, where studies take place in extremely tight conditions, has become technically and morally obsolete. However, realisation of the strategic vision of the university relies on a contemporary and attractive study environment, and therefore, the priority and closest objective of EAA is the construction of a new academic building,» Rector, Professor Signe Kivi explains the undertaking. Expected construction cost of the new building is approximately 700 million EEK and the academy hopes to erect it by year 2011 when Tallinn bears the title of European Capital of Culture.
The exhibition «EAA NEW BUILDING», which shows all of the competition entries, will remain open until May 4, 2008 at the Museum of Estonian Architecture. The exposition was designed by sisters Kadri and Maris Kerge, alumni of the academy. The exhibition is sponsored by Cramo Estonia and Clearchannel.

About Estonian Academy of Arts
The Estonian Academy of Arts is the only public university in Estonia providing higher education in fine arts, design, architecture, media, visual studies, art culture, and conservation, working uninterrupted since 1914. The EAA aims to become a leading national and international centre of innovation in the field of visual culture. In addition to active study and research, the EAA also offers lifelong learning opportunities at the Open Academy. The EAA prides itself in a small professor to student ratio, which allows generous personal interaction between the learner and instructor. Currently, 1 130 students are enrolled at the academy, taught by 83 professors, associate professors, teachers and lecturers. Additionally, 38 workshop managers assist students at all times.
Many of the students participate in exchange programmes at partner international universities during their studies. The EAA cooperates with almost a hundred universities abroad and belongs to several international networks. More information may be found at www.artun.ee

Additional information:

Solveig Jahnke
Head of Public Relations
Estonian Academy of Arts
Tel +372 6 267 111
Mob +372 56 26 4949

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