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, 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.

More images and further project description after the break.

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: 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: Cilento, Karen. "Vadabus Square and St. Paul Church / Ginseng Chicken" 09 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • wowdow

    looks like a chicken cage… perfect for the firm’s name

  • bshi

    i thought it was a prison

  • gg

    excellent project!

  • t6nis

    as the site is in a small city (~22000 people). I find its extremely overscaled project. + that the room program is max 1/4 of the proposed volume.

    weak idea. sry.

  • t6nis

    to add some thoughts…

    the contsepual idea is itriging, but it does not link to the conditions of site.

    for example heating question. as i can understand, the cube is made from perforated metal. so the space between functions in cube seems to be outside room. i cant see myself in february (with minus 20 degrees C outside) giving away my coat ant walking trough the ipressive /but minus 20C/ space to the concert.

  • EU

    En mi humilde opinión es la “cosa” más fea, grosera, vasta y maleducada que se ha planteado en nombre de la arquitectura en los últimos ni tiempos.

    No hay respeto por el entorno, con la escala, con las preexistencias… total, para meter cuatro cajitas mal puestas y sin gracia.

  • Tee

    It indeed looks like there’s still a Church, at least when you look at it the second time, but functional only as a foundation for the cube.
    Apart from that an unexciting and uninspired architecture.
    Even though I like the renderings.

  • tuankt14b6

    may cong trinh nay co nhieu net doc dao va rat pha cach

  • name

    somebody has been looking at the caixa forum a little too much

  • by

    great renderings… so what’s the concept of this project?

  • Markansas

    Is anyone else feel like it is Le Fresnoy, Part II.

  • daily spread

    at first sight i would agree with all the negative comments, but the longer i look at it, the more i start to like it!

    yes, actually, i really like it.
    it creates a landmark in/for this little village, and therefore even the big scale in the small context might be right….

  • haha

    btw, it’s VABADUS square, not vadabus. the architects have really delved into the competition brief, basically ignoring every requirement.

  • arquipablo

    the third image , the interior rendering is awesome….

  • sullka

    I signed in for this competition, I regret now not having sent an idea.

    I’m guessing this team was more into teh “experimentation and conceptual” field, rather than a practical one. They’re waaaaaaaaaaaay out of the contest’s rules with that proposal

  • as

    we entered this competition and we placed in the final 3rd stage… This entry has a very interesting concept, great research but total disregard for the competition program…

    … although i love the interior space…

    one more thing the final shortlist was a total dissapointment except for Peter Cook’s entry…

    the chosen scheme had, literally, piano notes on their urban square design… pathetic…

  • Tosh

    Again – “who’s got the nicest box” dick contest..

    Not interested.. anymore. Before it was really nice and cute. Now – it’s nothing new.

  • heitor

    ‘how to make a historical building disappear’

  • mohamed

    very nice indeed

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  • Azlan

    Interesting, similar vibe as the Le Fresnoy