Awarded Special Mention "for its original concept and daring in thinking beyond the set bounds," OFIS Arhitekti's proposal for the Arvo Pärt Center, "MEIE AED" (Our Garden), is a combination of a pine tree, tree house, traditional house, nest, observatory, and floating bridge. A cultural center that incorporates a multitude of programs including concert space, archives, creative space, and a chapel, the building was conceived to converse closely with its forested natural surroundings.
The Center is located in Laulasmaa, near Tallinn, Estonia. Unfixed in orientation, diagrammatically the building is structured like a pine tree, with volumes stemming outwards from a central "trunk." Internally focused spaces and outwardly focused spaces are layered vertically like layers of a tree canopy, and operating much like a treehouse. The highest volume lies above the canopy line and provides views towards the sea. In addition, views are framed via terraces and balconies that cantilever from the central volumes. Deriving influence from Estonian wooden homes, the building features low hanging gable roofs, patterns of vertical wooden slats, and stacked, intimately scaled spaces. These stacked bridge-like volumes form a nest-like shape, organized around a grand interior. The central space of the top levels creates a viewing tower and observatory.
The rotating triangular form is influenced by the music of Arvo Pärt. Programmatically, the building is divided into a landscaped concert house on the lower ground floor, bridge house on the upper ground floor, office and archive house at the first level, and creative tree house within the tower. The concert house consists of two structural concrete pedestals, with a classroom and auditorium in the Western pedestal and service spaces in the Eastern pedestal. Embedded into the landscape, the pedestals frame an internal lobby, central staircase, and atrium space that channels visitors between indoors and out, and serves as courtyard and thermal regulation. Within the bridge house, the main entrance, central gallery, reception area, and public facilities blend into the landscape via partially transparent building material, and corner terracing.
On the first level, offices and archive space are surrounded by an extended terrace intended for extensive views, daylighting, and environmental buffer zone. Above, the tower is separated by various functions. The lower level contains two creative rooms, each with an individual terrace, and located above the archives. The upper level houses Arvo Pärt and his wife's working space and chapel. This sanctuary form spatially emphasizes the importance of integrating Pärt’s musical legacy with Christian values. This upper level also functions as an observation tower for guests.
Designed for "high comfort - low impact," the proposal features several energy reduction strategies. The entire building is formed of one single volume to lower perimeter heat transfer area, while the central atria and first level double-skin facades provide buffer spaces. Triple glazed facades insulate while exterior shading systems reduces excessive heat gain. The building ventilates through stack effect and solar chimney effect during Estonia's cold winters, while an interior water wall cools in summer and allows for winter humidification.
CompetitionThe Arvo Pärt Center Competition
Project NameMEIE AED (Our Garden)
Project TeamRok Oman, Spela Videcnik, Janez Martincic, Andrej Gregoric, Beatriz Rodriguez Sanchez, Paloma Rubio Rodriguez, Antonio Rodriguez Rueda, Darko Ivanovski, Michele Albonetti, Tomaž Cirkvenèiè, Vanessa Abram, Eva Toom, Diego Umari, Lorenzo Conti
Technical TeamTranssolar, Inforce Project, Milko Lazar (pianist)