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Vadabus Square and St. Paul Church / Ginseng Chicken

Ginseng Chicken Architecture P.C. has proposed a renewed identity for the St. Paul Church and Vadabus Square in Rakvere, Estonia by attempting to integrate three disparate elements of the site into a cohesive design strategy for a main concert hall.   With Arvo Pärt’s musical legacy and contribution to the genre of minimal music in mind, non-organization and non-sequentiality became the main driving force behind the design of the annex and were then translated into an architectural language.

The key aspects of minimal music consist of independent elements that are composed to create repetitive rhythms, patterning, and layering.  The architects communicated the characteristics of the music into the building by designing multiple entrances, fluidity between the interior and exterior, structural independence of annex to the existing building, multi -functional spaces, and a lack of hierarchy between programs represented as building massing.

The enter the hall, the existing profile of the Church will remain and vistors will enter through a large glass encased lobby.  The annex allows for multiple entrances and opens to an open ground-level lobby. This lobby space is defined by the porous mesh screen, which ambiguously and fluidly defines the interior and exterior. All of the building’s main floors will be interconnected by single core, housing circulation and bathrooms. By organizing programmatic spaces vertically via elevator access, linearity is destroyed.  Each guest is able to directly access any floor or program without going through another. This reinforces Arvo Part’s musical idea that all individual elements that create a whole may have equal weight and significance, negating any linearity or hierarchy.

The annex adjoins to the existing church creating a 37 cubic meter volume, the minimum envelope required to “complete” the pure geometric form of a cube. The skin of the volume is constructed of panels of perforated metal screens, the perforation of which is derived from the texture of a stone wall found in the Church, further helping to fuse the church and annex into a single entity characterized by geometrical and culturally symbolic purity.

Architects: Ginseng Chicken Architecture P.C.

Location: Vadabus Square, Rakvere, Estonia

Client: The City of Rakvere

Project Type: Competition

Project team: Jeeyong An, Sang Hwa Lee, Yoon Kyung Park, Ulyong Moon, Sieun Lee, Jay Tsai, Hyuna Kang

Project Area: 2,800 sqm

Project year: 2009

Cite:Karen Cilento. "Vadabus Square and St. Paul Church / Ginseng Chicken" 10 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>