Joining the European Union in 2004 and gaining its independence from Russia in 1991, Estonia reaffirms further its National Identity after several years of occupation through launching an International Competition for the design and execution of the Estonian National Museum. This competition for an ethnographic building of 28 000 m2 housing a collection of 140 000 objects was won in January 2006 by Dorell Ghotmeh Tane / Architects. The Project Jury consisted of international experts such as LORD Culture, Winy Maas/ MVRDV along with local experts and architects.
The Proposal of Dorell Ghotmeh Tane for this Museum was somehow unexpected for the competition Jury, considering Estonia’s recent history and struggle with the Soviet Occupation. Having as the competition site the northern degenerated area of the city of Tartu, the winning Architects chose to investigate the reasons why this site was for a long time ‘alienated’ from the city. Turning out to be a former Soviet military base, the site allocated for this national museum incited the Architects to connect the Museum with the element that is today the most physically present ‘ruin’ of what is for Estonian as ‘painful’ days: a military Airfield. They believed that the Museum should play an essential role in the regeneration of the whole area and to do so, it has to start by dealing with this heavily charged and spatially unique airfield. Instead of ignoring it, the Museum physically connects to it and appropriates it into its own space in order to change its meaning. this empty field is no longer a ‘military’ airfield but an extension of the National Museum’s space. With a sensitive implementation on this site, the National Museum’s roof meets the airfield’s width and expands beyond its own ‘architectural’ boundary towards an ‘infinite space’.
Status : Project in Progress to be completed in 2011
Location : Tartu, Estonia
Dates : Competition won in January 2006 – to be completed in 2011
Area: 28 000 m2
Commission Type : Public
Client : Estonian National Museum, Ministry of Culture of Estonia
Program: Museum (Exhibitions spaces, Conference hall, Public Library, Auditoriums, Educational rooms, Offices, Collection Storages)
Architecture: DORELL;GHOTMEH;TANE /ARCHITECTS Structure: Arup,
Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh, Tsuyoshi Tane, Bertrand Folmard, Carlotta Fontana, Mathias Klöpfel, Balsam Madi, Valérie Mayer, Haruki Nakayama, Vincent Senegel, Ida Kjaer Sejrsen, Sony Devabhakutuni, Michael Sypkens(text & images via: Dorell . Ghotmeh . Tane)