Architect Peter Sand has placed first in an open competition to design a residential area in Rakvere, Estonia. The only notable restriction in the competition guidelines was that all entrants must be under the age of thirty. Please follow after the break to see additional images of Peter Sand‘s award winning proposal and a narrative from the architect himself.
The approach of this proposal has been to develop a residential area with a strong connection to the context. By being located on the very edge, where the city and the forest merge together, there has been given an unique opportunity to make an area in the city and in the forest at the same time with the advances it is giving.
Forests are beautiful. Forests are mysterious. Forests are always changing their look, and you always get inspired there. Light and shadows, different smells and sounds from the wind and animals. The forest is an amazing place to grow up, and it is the fantastic neighbor to the good family life. It is here the kids can play, and the family can go for walking, biking, running or just sit, watch and enjoy.
This proposal has a strong connection to the world in the forest – from the new residential area and from the existing. Pedestrian paths connect internally and externally, and they make new links and shortcuts to the rest of Rakvere. The new layout extends the borderline between the city and the forest and gives a shorter distance to the trees in the future. Green connections with paths are created in between the new building areas – beauty tall pine trees are here, and the connections are not wider than the sun are easily able to pass to the gardens behind. The gardens are open to provide lots of light into to homes, and the forest makes a beauty atmosphere around. Here it is typically gardens that people are asking for but with a great view to the forest and the trees.
The green connections divides the site into six buildable areas that can work individually and also work together as a whole with the others and the surrounding residential areas. Each area has its own access for heavy traffic and they are all dead ends, which means that nobody will pass through by car. That gives a quiet area with a focus on light traffic with pedestrians and people on bikes that can easily pass.
It is not necessary to build all areas to get a functionally total layout of the site, which means that the areas can be build in the same speed as they are getting sold. The content of the areas are primarily houses for one or two families and small apartments buildings with up to four apartments as wished in the brief. All buildings have a private garden with easy and often direct access to the forest. Besides from the homes there is suggested a kindergarten and a community center for the elderly, but it is important to point out that the suggested layout is so flexible that other divisions of plots easily can be made. That means that for example more or bigger public buildings can be adapted and the locations can be changed too.
Children’s playgrounds have been placed on the paths in the forest, but it is worth mentioning that the forest itself is the best playground you can get.
The area is located in the forest, so of course is it suggested that all buildings are going to be build in local wood. Wooden structure and facades give beauty and healthy buildings and they adapt visually in a great way into the surroundings. The wood is also very close connected to the ambition about building this new area with a focus on sustainability solutions. Solar panels are integrated on roofs facing towards the sun and angled ideally for the local conditions to get the biggest effect. Rain are collected for being used as flushing in toilets. Heating pumps are installed in all buildings to generate heating in cold winters and to produce cooling in warm summers. Window positions are well thought out related to light, sun and air circulation.